哈勃捕获的NGC 4858恒星爆发的星系

在北部的Coma Berenices(Berenice’s Hair)星座中,有令人印象深刻的Coma Cluster – 一个由重力束缚在一起的超过一千个星系的结构。这些星系中的许多都是椭圆型,这两个星系中较亮的一个主导着这个图像:NGC 4860(中心)。然而,星团的郊区还有较年轻的螺旋星系,它们自豪地展示着它们的旋臂。同样,这张照片展示了这样一个美丽的NGC 4858形状的星系的一个很好的例子,它可以在其明亮的邻居的左侧看到,并且由于其不寻常的,纠结的,火热的外观而脱颖而出。

NGC 4858很特别。它不是一个简单的螺旋形,而是一种叫做“星系聚合体”的东西,顾名思义就是一个中心星系,周围是一些似乎是由它衍生的发光材料,延伸和撕裂并增加或者改变其整体结构。它也正在经历极高的恒星形成率,可能是由于早期与另一个星系的相互作用所引发的。正如我们所看到的那样,NGC 4858如此疯狂地形成恒星,它将在其寿命结束之前耗尽所有气体。其明亮结的颜色表明它们是由氢形成的,当它被潜伏在其中的许多年轻的热星所激发时,它以各种深红色发光。

这一场景被NASA / ESA哈勃太空望远镜的宽视场相机3(WFC3)捕获,这是一款功能强大的相机,旨在探索早期宇宙中恒星和星系的演化。

In the northern constellation of Coma Berenices (Berenice’s Hair) lies the impressive Coma Cluster — a structure of over a thousand galaxies bound together by gravity. Many of these galaxies are elliptical types, as is the brighter of the two galaxies dominating this image: NGC 4860 (centre). However, the outskirts of the cluster also host younger spiral galaxies that proudly display their swirling arms. Again, this image shows a wonderful example of such a galaxy in the shape of the beautiful NGC 4858, which can be seen to the left of its bright neighbour and which stands out on account of its unusual, tangled, fiery appearance. NGC 4858 is special. Rather than being a simple spiral, it is something called a “galaxy aggregate”, which is, just as the name suggests, a central galaxy surrounded by a handful of luminous knots of material that seem to stem from it, extending and tearing away and adding to or altering its overall structure. It is also experiencing an extremely high rate of star formation, possibly triggered by an earlier interaction with another galaxy. As we see it, NGC 4858 is forming stars so frantically that it will use up all of its gas long before it reaches the end of its life. The colour of its bright knots indicates that they are formed of hydrogen, which glows in various shades of bright red as it is energised by the many young, hot stars lurking within. This scene was captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), a powerful camera designed to explore the evolution of stars and galaxies in the early Universe.


图片来源:ESA / Hubble&NASA
文字:欧洲航天局(ESA)

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