歎為觀止的星系合併照

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在震攝人心的星系合併影像中,兩星系合而為一。

這個壯觀的景象,是由哈伯望太空遠鏡在上個月所捕捉

This image, taken with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 on board the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows the galaxy NGC 6052, located around 230 million light-years away in the constellation of Hercules. It would be reasonable to think of this as a single abnormal galaxy, and it was originally classified as such. However, it is in fact a “new” galaxy in the process of forming. Two separate galaxies have been gradually drawn together, attracted by gravity, and have collided. We now see them merging into a single structure. As the merging process continues, individual stars are thrown out of their original orbits and placed onto entirely new paths, some very distant from the region of the collision itself. Since the stars produce the light we see, the “galaxy” now appears to have a highly chaotic shape. Eventually, this new galaxy will settle down into a stable shape, which may not resemble either of the two original galaxies.

這張照片中,距地球約2億3千萬光年外,位於武仙座(Hercules)的NGC6052星系正在成形。

據歐洲太空總署(ESA)所載,天文學家們一開始時,認為這個星系屬於「非典型」星系,目前則已改界定為兩星系系統的合併。

美國太空總署(NASA)網站上公佈的ESA聲明中說明到:「兩獨立星系因萬有引力影響而逐漸靠近,並且發生碰撞,現在已經可以看到兩者合併成單一星系結構。」

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聲明中還說到:照片影像中的「混亂」景象,是各個獨立的星球在合併的碰撞中,被甩出原有的運行軌道所造成,「最終,此新形成的星系,將會逐漸回歸至與前身全然不同的、全新的穩定狀態。」

根據Space.com資料,銀河系間合併是常見現象,我們的銀河系也將在大約40億年後,與鄰近的仙女座星系合併。

哈伯太空望遠鏡是依現代天文學傑出先驅,愛德溫·鮑威爾·哈勃(Edwin Powell Hubble)之名所命名,於1990年由《發現號》太空梭運載升空。

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哈伯太空望遠鏡於NASA和ESA聯合執行的計畫中,進行首次照片回傳,但是由於鏡頭瑕疵,照片相當模糊,後來,這個問題於1993年,由太空人以太空漫步的方式修正,自此之後,哈伯太空望遠鏡已傳回無數供做研究的影像。

來源: Huffingtonpost

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