Hubble captured a rare merger of three galaxies

Hubble captured a rare merger of three galaxies

Since its launch, Hubble has been a patient observer of the universe, and thanks to the Advance Camera for Surveys, Hubble has been monitoring about 681 million light-years to capture a dazzling merger.

Given the impressive size of galaxies and the forces and energy involved, their merger can only be a cataclysm that leaves visible scars after millions of years.

But this is a very common process in the evolution of the galaxy, which helps shape the galaxy.

In fact, one object is drawn to the other if it is more massive, and the same principle applies to galaxy mergers, so galaxy is inexorably drawn together. Astronomers believe that this force can be directed by the invisible threads of the cosmic web, which spreads and plays a vital role in the formation of the universe.

The trio called IP 2431, photographed by Hubbles, will one day become one huge galaxy. All galaxies develop inside the cluster, and the smaller ones always end up eating bigger ones. But in the case of three galaxies, the three objects are drawn together like a huge ballet.

As in our own Milky Way galaxy, which merged with Guyana-Enzelad 8 to 10 billion years ago, the scars of cataclysm will be visible. The merger will indeed cause great gravitational disturbance. It will create great friction between space gases and dust. It will then form clusters of very high density, which are destroyed by themselves, usually causing a wave of stars to be born.

Moreover, during the merger of stars and dark matter in the galaxy involved, they are increasingly affected as the galaxy approaches. At the end of the merger, the orbit of the stars is completely altered. Together with the date and mapping of the stars, these orbital changes are "scars", which astronomers observe to understand the evolution of the galaxy.

The recently received image of IC 2431 shows that three galaxies "eat each other" as well as burgeoning star formation and tidal distortions caused by gravitational interactions of the galaxy trio. The centre of the image is also hidden by a thick cloud of dust, although the light from the background galaxy can penetrate its outer edges.

At the same time, when the supermassive black holes in the center of each galaxy are merged, they come together in double or triple orbit, and the latter may eventually merge to become a giant and unique supermassive black hole, and experts believe that the gravitational wave signals from one of these huge mergers have not yet been detected within IC 2431, perhaps because they occur at frequencies outside the range of our modern detectors.

Watching such objects can help us understand how massive galaxies develop and evolve over millions and billions of years, and how our universe will continue to evolve.