GHOSTLY GALAXY ESO 137-001.
Image Credit & Copyright: NASA ESA Hubble & Chandra Space Telescopes. CLICK image for larger view and look below for information and links.
What causes this ghostly appearance to barred spiral galaxy ESO 137-001? Is it melting from the heat of all of the stars within it?…..Obviously not. Is it being a good boy and sprouting a tail to wag happily?…..Ok, that’s equally as dumb. It is however, like a dog with its head out the window, ears blowing wildly behind it as the person in the back seat catches a face full of hair. Ok, maybe that’s my personal situation but it’s TRUE. As this galaxy is gravitationally forced to the center of galaxy cluster Abell 3627 or the Norma Cluster, toward the center of the Great Attractor, its falling victim to a process known as ram pressure stripping.
As it plows through the intergalactic medium at 4.5 million mph. cold gas from the galaxy is being stripped away from the galaxy creating a 400,000 light year long tail. As you would probably guess, that material loss isn’t a good thing as its prime star forming material. Without that material, star formation in the galaxy is greatly reduced and new stars seem to be forming within the tail. It would be interesting to see what becomes of these homeless stars. Will they congregate into their own dwarf galaxy or remain independent as stars without a galaxy?
NAME: ESO 137-001.
WHAT IS IT?: Barred spiral galaxy being stripped of material as it moves through intergalactic medium.
HOW FAR AWAY IS IT?: 220 million light years.
HOW BIG IS IT?: 1.6’ X 08.’ arcminutes on the night sky. Approximately 100,000 light years in diameter with a 400,000 light year long tail.
WHERE IS IT? (General): Triangulum Australe (Southern Triangle) within galaxy cluster Abell 3627 or Norma Cluster.
WHERE IS IT? (Exact RA/DEC J2000): RA 16h 12m 39.43s / DEC −60° 47′ 2.7″.
NASA Chandra Space Telescope page for this image: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2014/eso137/
NASA APOD for this image: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap140328.html
NASA Hubblesite News Center release for these images: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2014/14/image/
ESA Hubble Space Telescope page for the optical light in this image: http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1404/