A team of astronomers have captured images of a galaxy collision which occurred behind the Milky Way . This galactic collision which happened nearly 30 million light years away from Earth has formed a new ring of galaxy. The collision did not turn out to be disastrous but paradoxically it produced another beautiful heavenly body.
Professor Quentin Parker, who headed the team of astronomers at the University of Hong Kong and professor Albert Zijlstra at the University of Manchester found this galaxy during a special wide-field survey of the Southern Milky Way. They published their results in the Royal Astronomical Society . The baby galaxy has been named ‘Kathryn’s Wheel’.
“Such systems are very rare and arise from ‘bulls-eye’ collisions between two galaxies of similar mass. Shock waves from the collision compress reservoirs of gas in each galaxy and trigger the formation of new stars. This creates a spectacular ring of intense emission, and lights up the system like a Catherine wheel firework on bonfire night,” mentioned the report.
“Not only is this system visually stunning, but it’s close enough to be an ideal target for detailed study. The ring is also quite low in mass — a few thousand million Suns, or less than 1% of the Milky Way — so our discovery shows that collision rings can form around much smaller galaxies than we thought,” said Parker.
“It is not often that you get to name any objects in the sky. But I think Kathryn’s Wheel is particularly fitting, resembling as it does a firework and continuing the tradition of naming objects after loved ones,” said Zijlstra.