||The center of a large cluster of galaxies can be a dangerous place.
Most astronomers think that it is common for galaxies to collide in
these kinds of cramped quarters (on galactic scales). This is why most
compact galaxy clusters contain elliptical like galaxies. After many
collisions the delicate structures of spiral galaxies are morphed into
the more stable configuration of an elliptical galaxy. Here we see this
dramatic process happening with NGC 1275. Just up and to the left of center,
this collision of galaxies ranks as one of the weirdest in the Universe.
The cropped image below may help identify tale-tell structures of the orignal
two galaxies. The very center of NGC 1275 contains two or three curves
which used to be spiral arms. The dust in the foreground of NGC 1275 is what
remains of the challenging (and losing) galaxy. All of this activity makes
the gas release radio wavelengths of light. Thus, NGC 1275 is often called
Perseus A as it is the brightest object in this direction in these wavelengths
of light. All of the galaxies in the field (perhaps more than 100 if you
count the myriad of faint fuzzies) are on the order of 200 million light
years away. The HST image (beside cropped image) of NGC 1275, with its far
superior resolution, will help "unravel" the mystery of NGC 1275.
|L R G B color production was used to create this image.||
Minimum credit line: Jeff Cremer/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF
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