Monday, May 22, 2023

The Antennae Galaxies: Composite of ALMA & Hubble Observations | ESO

The Antennae Galaxies: Composite of ALMA & Hubble Observations | ESO

The Antennae Galaxies (also known as NGC 4038 and 4039) are a pair of distorted colliding spiral galaxies about 70 million light-years away, in the constellation of Corvus (The Crow). This view combines Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) observations with visible-light observations from the NASA/European Space Agency Hubble Space Telescope.

The Hubble image is the sharpest view of this object ever taken and serves as the ultimate benchmark in terms of resolution. ALMA observes at much longer wavelengths. 

While visible light—shown here mainly in blue—reveals the newborn stars in the galaxies, ALMA’s view shows us something that cannot be seen at those wavelengths: the clouds of dense cold gas from which new stars form. The ALMA observations—shown here in red, pink and yellow—were made at specific wavelengths of millimeter and submillimeter light (ALMA bands 3 and 7), tuned to detect carbon monoxide molecules in the otherwise invisible hydrogen clouds, where new stars are forming.

Massive concentrations of gas are found not only in the hearts of the two galaxies but also in the chaotic region where they are colliding. Here, the total amount of gas is billions of times the mass of the Sun—a rich reservoir of material for future generations of stars. Observations like these will be vital in helping us understand how galaxy collisions can trigger the birth of new stars. This is an example of how ALMA reveals parts of the Universe that cannot be seen with visible-light and infrared telescopes.


Visible Light Image: NASA/European Space Agency Hubble Space Telescope

Release Date: Oct. 3, 2011

#NASA #ESA #ESO #Astronomy #Space #Hubble #Galaxies #AntennaeGalaxies #NGC4038 #NGC4039 #InteractingGalaxies #Corvus #Constellation #MilkyWayGalaxy #Cosmos #Universe #SpaceTelescope #ALMA #GSFC #STScI #UnitedStates #Chile #Europe #STEM #Education

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