Saturday, May 4, 2013

NGC 6240

NGC 6240: A pair of colliding spiral galaxies about 330 million light years from Earth.

Scientists have used Chandra to make a detailed study of an enormous cloud of hot gas enveloping two large, colliding galaxies in the system known as NGC 6240. This unusually large reservoir of gas contains as much mass as 10 billion Suns, spans about 300,000 light years, radiates at a temperature of more than 7 million degrees, and glows in X-rays (purple). The Chandra data have been combined with optical data from the Hubble, which show long tidal tails from the merging galaxies, extending to the right and bottom of the image.

Scale: Image is 3 arcmin across (About 290,000 light years).

Image credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/SAO/E.Nardini et al); Optical (NASA/STScI)

Note: For more information, see NGC 6240: Colossal Hot Cloud Envelopes Colliding Galaxies.

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