The Cartwheel Galaxy (also known as the ESO 350-40) is a lenticular galaxy or annular located about 500 million light years away in the constellation Sculptor in the southern hemisphere. The cartwheel shape of this galaxy is the result of a violent galactic collision that occurred there are about 200 million years.
A small galaxy passed through the heart of a large disk galaxy, and produced this gigantic shock wave, which propagated the surrounding gas and dust in the galaxy, much like the ripples of water produced when a stone is thrown into a lake.
The Cartwheel galaxy is now surrounded by a bluish ring of 150 000 light years in diameter, composed of bright young stars.
Moving at high speed of the shock wave, a compressed gas and dust, which has fostered the birth of stars that light up now, the edge of the wave.
In the image, regions of star formation are shown in blue. The outer ring of the galaxy, is 1.5 times the size of our Milky Way. It can be seen in this picture, the galaxy is now back as a normal spiral galaxy, with galactic arms that form again from the central core.
This galaxy was a galaxy similar to the Milky Way, before it undergoes the collision. This is a celestial object of the most remarkable class of ring galaxies. Star formation in the rings, like the Cartwheel Galaxy, promotes the formation of stars of large size and very bright. When these massive stars explode as a supernova, it remains in their hearts, a neutron star or black hole. Some of these neutron stars and black holes attract matter from nearby stars and become powerful sources of X-rays Cartwheel contains an unusually high number of these black holes X-ray sources, because many massive stars have formed in the ring of the galaxy. This image was produced with data from Hubble and adjusted using the open source software FITS Liberator 3, which was developed at ST-ECF.
Judicious use of this tool has allowed the original Hubble observations, to obtain details of the Cartwheel galaxy.
nota: Hubble images of high resolution (ESA).
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Image: The image retired of this cosmic event, shows the Cartwheel galaxy also known as the ESO 350-40. Image Hubble telescope NASA / ESA Space.