Captured by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope, this latest image unveils the luminous blue compact galaxy (BCG) known as ESO 185-IG013. BCGs, characterized by a vivid burst of star formation, stand out for their intense blue hue in visible light, distinguishing them from other high-starburst galaxies emitting more infrared light. Astrophysicists turn their focus to BCGs as they offer a nearby parallel to galaxies from the early universe, providing valuable insights into the processes of galaxy formation and evolution that unfolded billions of years ago. ESO 185-IG013 serves as a cosmic canvas for unraveling the mysteries of our celestial origins.
The Hubble Space Telescope delves into the cosmic intricacies of ESO 185-IG013 by capturing images across ultraviolet, visible, and infrared wavelengths, unveiling the galaxy’s dynamic history. Within its stellar tapestry, hundreds of young star clusters emerge, with many being younger than 100 million years. Notably, a substantial number of these clusters are mere infants at 3.5 million years old, a fleeting existence in the vast timescale of the universe. Scientists anticipate the transience of these youthful clusters, often succumbing to their demise after expelling excessive gas.
This abundance of young star clusters serves as a celestial fingerprint, signaling that ESO 185-IG013 experienced a recent galaxy collision and merger. The perturbed structure of the galaxy, shaped by violent interactions of gas and dust during the collision, further attests to this cosmic event. The merger infused the system with ample fuel for ongoing star formation, perpetuating the celestial spectacle witnessed today.
ESO 185-IG013 unfolds its cosmic narrative with the presence of a distinctive tidal shell – a diffuse glow enveloping its luminous core, a hallmark of galaxy mergers. In the intricate dance of galactic interactions, scientists posit that in a merger, the smaller interacting galaxy succumbs to disruption by the larger counterpart, shedding a significant portion of its material. This liberated material, propelled by gravitational forces, is drawn back in, forming a dense area known as the shell, adorned with numerous star clusters.
Adding to the celestial spectacle, ESO 185-IG013 showcases a gas tail extending in the northeast direction. The collective mass of all stars in this cosmic ensemble exceeds 7 billion times that of our Sun, residing approximately 260 million light-years away, offering a captivating glimpse into the intricate tapestry of the universe.