Galaxy-cluster collisions result in celestial fireworks

ANI | Updated: Nov 08, 2017 09:31 IST

Galaxy-cluster collisions result in celestial fireworks .

Washington D C [USA], Nov 8 (ANI): A giant collision of several galaxy clusters, each containing hundreds of galaxies, has produced this spectacular panorama of shocks and energy .

The collisions generated shock waves that set off a celestial fireworks display of bright radio emission, seen as red and orange . In the center of the image, the purple indicates X-rays caused by extreme heating .

The region is collectively known as Abell 2744, some 4 billion light-years from Earth . The radio portion of the image comes from new observations made with the National Science Foundation's Karl G . Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), and is combined with earlier data from NASA's Chandra X-ray observatory . Both are overlaid on an image at visible-light wavelengths made with data from the Subaru telescope and the Very Large Telescope (VLT) .

The new VLA observations revealed previously undetected regions where shocks accelerated subatomic particles, causing radio emission .

Astronomers of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the University of Southampton in the UK are studying the combined image in an attempt to decipher the sequence of galaxy-cluster collisions . Currently, they said, evidence indicates a North-South collision of subclusters and an East-West (left-right in the image) collision .

There is a possible third collision, and the astronomers continue to analyze their data to uncover more details about the region's complex history of collisions and their aftermath .

The scientists reported their findings in a paper in the Astrophysical Journal . (ANI)