Photo of the day: a storm of galaxy pairs coming together

Photo of the day: a storm of galaxy pairs coming together

The European South Observatory presented an excellent picture of the structure of NGC 7727 resulting from a grand space event, the merger of two galaxies, which began about 1 billion years ago.

The image clearly shows the twisted areas formed by the merger of galaxies, each pulling from another star and dust clouds, resulting in long sleeves covering NGC 7727 from the outside.

Flashing galaxies are like dancing around each other: gravity creates tide forces that dramatically change the view of both objects; star tails, gas, and dust twist around the galaxies, resulting in a new unified galaxy of enveloping asymmetrical shape.

In the center of NGC 7727 is the closest pair of supermassive black holes found to date. It is noted that they will eventually merge into an even larger black hole.

The image was obtained using a focal reductor and a low dispersion spectrograph for FORS2, a receiver that was installed on VLT ESO.