The Jellyfish Galaxy, JO175, is a stunning sight captured in detail by the Hubble Space Telescope from 650 million light-years away. This spiral galaxy appears to hang suspended in the skies of the constellation Telescopium and is surrounded by a handful of more distant galaxies, with a bright four-pointed star to its lower right side. This image from NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope showcases the intricate structure of this beautiful galaxy, with its long tentacles of stars and dust creating a mesmerizing and out of this world effect. This image is a testament to the power of modern space imaging and its ability to bring us closer to our cosmic environment.
Jellyfish galaxies are aptly named due to their long, bright tendrils of star-forming gas and dust that trail behind them, giving them the appearance of a jellyfish in the ocean. These galaxies are usually found in galaxy clusters and the pressure of the superheated plasma that exists within these clusters is what creates the jellyfish’s unique tendrils. The clumps of star formation within these tendrils give jellyfish galaxies a particularly striking appearance, setting them apart from other galaxies in their vicinity.
The Hubble Space Telescope recently completed a deep dive into jellyfish clusters, with a specific focus on star-forming clumps of gas and dust that stud their tendrils. By studying the origins and fate of the stars in these clumps, astronomers hoped to gain insight into star formation in more typical galaxies. Somewhat surprisingly, the findings suggest that star formation in the disks of galaxies is surprisingly similar to star formation in the extreme conditions found in the tendrils of jellyfish galaxies.