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Violet Tear a Triple Merger Galaxy, Oil on Canvas by dbattefeld Violet Tear a Triple Merger Galaxy, Oil on Canvas by dbattefeld
The above painting shows a merger of three far away galaxies that appear nebulous from Earth. Located at a distance of 650 million light years, or more than 260 times the distance to Andromeda, these galaxies, ESO 593-IG 008, or IRAS 19115-2124, were first thought to be an interacting pair of galaxies. Using adaptive optics that penetrated the surrounding dust, Petri Väisänen and collaborators were able to resolve details of an apparently barred spiral located at the heart of the bird and an irregular galaxy at the body; at the head is a third, smaller star-forming galaxy. This galaxy appears to be an irregular one (see the K-band image first from the left, below; at the center and right are the Hubble Space Telescope B and I images). The apparent bright knots on the head indicate the presence of HII regions, large areas of low density clouds of ionized Hydrogen gas were star formation takes place, and super star clusters (SSC), areas that contain a large number of young, massive stars. The head is believed to be composed of fragments of a previous galaxy or a conglomeration of star clusters formed out of materials from the interaction of the two major galaxies in the body of the bird. The tidal tails, the wings, span a distance of 100 000 light-years, about the size of our own galaxy. The upper part of the right wing is moving towards us, whereas the head has been observed to be redshifting (receding)

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Submitted on
October 1, 2015
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