NASA shares spectacular image of merging galaxies 140 million light-years from Earth

NASA has released another fascinating picture of two swirling galaxies merging into a galactic system 140 million light-years away from Earth. The US space agency explains that as these two galaxies become one, shock waves both rumble and trigger waves of new star formation. Some of these stars are very large and lead brief but violent lives. The image showed two oval-shaped objects in close proximity that emit bundles of blue X-rays that illuminate the surrounding regions. Data from NASA’s Chandra Observatory shows 25 bright X-ray sources scattered throughout the galactic system.

NASA launched the Chandra X-ray Observatory in 1999. Since then, it has been the agency’s flagship mission for X-ray astronomy and takes its place in the fleet of “Great Observatories”.

NASA captioned the Instagram post, “mixed, don’t stir, please” and said that the galactic system captured by its space-based telescopes is named Arp 299. Of the 25 X-ray sources in the image, 14 are such strong emitters that astronomers classify them as “ultra-luminous X-ray sources,” or ULXs.

“These ULXs are likely binary systems where a black hole or neutron star is pulling material from a companion star,” the space agency said. NASA said the image contains X-ray data from the Chandra Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope and the NuSTAR X-ray Telescope.

Soon after the picture was posted on social media, astronomy enthusiasts gathered there to appreciate the excellence of this astronomical process. Most of the Instagram users were impressed with the image and praised its quality. The image garnered over 5,46,000 likes within 13 hours.

One person, who goes by the username wizard.bi, also asked: “Is this photo wallpaper available? PC and mobile?

Fortunately, the Chandra Observatory website says that the images can be searched and downloaded to make wallpapers on phones and tablets by visiting the web page:

What are your thoughts on this image?


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