The MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope has provided researchers with the best view yet of a spectacular cosmic crash. Observations reveal for the first time the motion of gas as it is ripped out of the galaxy ESO 137-001 as it plows at high speed into a vast galaxy cluster. The results are the key to the solution of a long-standing mystery — why star formation switches off in galaxy clusters.
In this picture the colors show the motions of the gas filaments — red means the material is moving away from Earth compared to the galaxy and blue that it is approaching.
Note that the upper-left and lower-right parts of this picture have been filled in using the Hubble image of this object.
Image credit: ESO/M. Fumagalli
Note: For more information, see MUSE Reveals True Story Behind Galactic Crash.