Photo of the day: giant merging galaxy emoji
A very unusual picture of the space formation was presented today by the European Southern Observatory (ESO, European Southern Observatory): a structure that resembles a pair of bright eyes or a galactic smiley is captured in the photo.
In fact, the two luminous regions are the result of the merging of galaxies. Behind them are two growing supermassive black holes, and the “grin” is formed by the swirling of matter around them.
The structure has the designation Mrk 739. On the scale of the Universe, it is located relatively close to us, which makes it an excellent object to study. The data obtained will provide a better understanding of the dramatic processes taking place during galaxy mergers.
The structure was studied using the MUSE receiver on ESO’s Very Large Telescope. Note that MUSE is a 3D spectrograph that captures images of the observed object in the form of special data sets simultaneously at thousands of different wavelengths.
Observations show that one of the galaxies in the pair is much older than the other. Moreover, the process of their merger is at an early stage.