NASA Shares Spectacular Image of Galaxies Merging 140 Million Light-Years From Earth

NASA says the merging galaxies created a "partially blended mix of stars".

NASA Shares Spectacular Image of Galaxies Merging 140 Million Light-Years From Earth

Photo Credit: NASA

NASA said the image contains data from Chandra Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope, and NuSTAR telescope

  • NASA has shared an image of two merging galaxies on Instagram
  • The image has data from Chandra, Hubble Space, and NuSTAR telescopes
  • Arp 299 is among most powerful star-forming galaxies in nearby Universe

NASA has released yet another fascinating photograph of two swirling galaxies merging in a galactic system 140 million light-years from the Earth. As these two galaxies become one, shock waves rumble through both of them and trigger waves of new star formation, the American space agency explains. Some of these stars are very large and live brief but violent lives. The image showed two oval-shaped objects in close proximity emitting bundles of blue X-rays that illuminate the surrounding areas. Data from NASA's Chandra Observatory shows 25 bright X-ray sources sprinkled throughout the galactic system.

NASA launched Chandra X-Ray Observatory in 1999. Since then, it's been the agency's flagship mission for X-ray astronomy and takes its place among the fleet of "Great Observatories".

NASA titled the Instagram post, “Blended, not stirred, please” and said that the galactic system captured by its space-based telescopes is named Arp 299. Out of the 25 X-ray sources in the image, 14 are such strong emitters that astronomers have categorised them as “ultra-luminous X-ray sources,” or ULXs.

“These ULXs are likely binary systems where a black hole or neutron star is pulling material from a companion star,” the space agency said. NASA added that the image contains X-ray data from the Chandra observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the NuSTAR X-ray telescope.

Soon after the image was posted on social media, astronomy enthusiasts flocked there to appreciate the exquisiteness of this celestial process. Most of the Instagram users were wowed by the image and praised its quality. The image had more than 5,46,000 likes within 13 hours.

A person, who goes by the username wizard.b0i, also asked: “Is there a wallpaper of this picture available? PC and mobile?”

Luckily, the Chandra Observatory website says that images can be searched and downloaded to make them wallpapers on phones and tablets by visiting the web page: 

What are your thoughts on this image? 

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