Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hubble's New Images - Galaxy caught in the making

New Hubble images have provided a dramatic glimpse of a large massive galaxy under assembly as smaller galaxies merge. This provides the best demonstration so far that large massive galaxies form by merging smaller ones.

This formation process has commonly been thought to be the way galaxies grew in the young Universe. New Hubble observations of the radio galaxy MRC 1138-262, nicknamed the 'Spiderweb Galaxy', have shown dozens of star-forming satellite galaxies in the actual process of merging.

In nature spiders earn our respect by constructing fascinating, well-organised webs in all shapes and sizes. But the beauty masks a cruel, fatal trap. Analogously, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has found a large galaxy 10.6 thousand million light-years away from Earth that is stuffing itself with smaller galaxies caught like flies in a web of gravity. The galaxy is so far away that astronomers . . . (continue Article)

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