December 6, 2022

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What a collision!  Astronomers notice two galaxies colliding and try to solve the mystery

What a collision! Astronomers notice two galaxies colliding and try to solve the mystery

The James Webb Space Telescope has captured a stunning image showing two galaxies on a collision course. Everything happens millions of light years away from Earth.

However, we can watch these events on the screens of monitors and smartphones as in the cinema, after the image of the collision that occurred about 275 million light-years away. By the way, astronomers also have a mystery to solve. It is not clear why there is no supermassive black hole at the center of any of the galaxies involved in the collision.

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This cosmic duo, who doesn’t seem to be particularly fond of each other, is known as IC 1623 or VV114. About 275 million light-years away, it was of interest to scientists at the California Institute of Technology. Lee Armos led the investigation team, and he and his colleagues used the James Webb Space Telescope to make observations.

The mission’s primary goal was to track four relatively nearby bright galaxy mergers and determine the conditions under which they occur. Until now, it was clear that when two galaxies orbit each other and at some point collide, they “rip” streams of matter from each other. Instead, massive shock waves are released into space and pass through both galaxies.

The collision of two galaxies has been immortalized by the James Webb Space Telescope

The same is the case here. The red regions show a high intensity of the young star formation process. Almost certainly, this activity was heightened by the shock waves emitted by the impact.

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What is less clear, however, is that supermassive black holes are invisible at the centers of both galaxies. It would seem that such things are almost inseparable from the existence of galaxies. Black holes in such mergers must be active and easy to observe, absorb gas from the environment and emit huge amounts of radiation. However, in this case, no indications of the existence of these black holes were found. Perhaps more observation time is needed. Other scenarios assume that these objects are not as active as expected or are hiding behind thick clouds of dust.