The subject of this #NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image is known as NGC 3597. It is the product of a #collision between two good-sized galaxies, and is slowly evolving to become a giant elliptical #galaxy. This type of galaxy has grown more and more common as the #universe has evolved, with initially small galaxies merging and progressively building up into larger galactic structures over time.

NGC 3597 is located approximately 150 million light-years away in the constellation of Crater (The Cup). #Astronomers study NGC 3597 to learn more about how elliptical galaxies form ‘” many ellipticals began their lives far earlier in the history of the #universe. Older ellipticals are nicknamed ‘red and dead’ by astronomers because these bloated galaxies are not anymore producing new, bluer stars, and are thus packed full of old and redder #stellar populations.

Before infirmity sets in, some freshly formed #elliptical galaxies experience a final flush of youth, as is the case with NGC 3597. Galaxies smashing together pool their available gas and #dust, triggering new rounds of star birth. Some of this material ends up in dense pockets initially called proto-globular clusters, dozens of which festoon NGC 3597. These pockets will go on to collapse and form fully-fledged globular #clusters, large spheres that orbit the centers of galaxies like satellites, packed tightly full of millions of stars.

#Hubble #Space #Telescope

Posted by Stephen Hawking/Prof.Rajeev Tripathi


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