Antennae Galaxies – Impacts during collisions and mergers

Antennae Galaxies - Impacts during collisions and mergers

Antennae Galaxies – (Also known as Arp 244) – A system of two nearby colliding galaxies, NGC 4038 and NGC 4039, in the Corvus constellation 60 million light years from Earth. Both, along with a dozen other galaxies, belong to the NGC 4038 group of galaxies, of which they are the largest object (85 million light years from Earth).

Today’s galaxies are nothing like primordial star clusters. Their evolution was greatly influenced by mutual collisions and mergers, the traces of which we can see today in our Milky Way. But what exactly does such an interaction of galaxies look like? This question is answered by an analysis of more than 413 Hubble-observed distant systems. Consisting of at least two interacting galaxies. All these objects are so far away that the light traveled from them to us for as much as 7 billion years – so we observe relatively young galaxies.

As it turns out, when two galaxies interacted or merged, their star birth rate increased by an average of 40-60%, suggesting that the interaction triggers galaxy growth. A similar effect has also been observed in relation to contemporary stellar islands merging. At the same time, surprisingly, collisions are unlikely to affect the activity of super-massive black holes residing at the centers of most galaxies.

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