When Galaxies Collide
Colliding Galaxies or Dancing Black Holes?
As I first read this story, reported on Wired.com, I found it vary interesting but it made me think…
Are these Galaxies really colliding or are they two black holes “dancing” around one another doing the 2-step of gravity?
These two spiral galaxies have been colliding for over 100 million years. The intergalactic battle has spurred the creation of millions of new stars, the most massive of which have already exploded into supernovae.
Three of NASA’s space telescopes have combined forces to create the sharpest image yet of the merging Antennae galaxies, located 62 million light years from Earth. X-ray data from Chandra X-Ray Observatory is blue, optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope is gold and brown, and infrared data from Spitzer Space Telescope is red. The photos were taken between 1999 and 2002, and combine 117 hours of observation.
The image gives us a sneak preview of what may happen when the Milky Way collides with the neighboring Andromeda galaxy in several billion years.
Nearly half the faint objects in the image are young star clusters that contain tens of thousands of new stars. The Hubble data reveals old stars in the core of the old galaxies: star-forming regions in gold, and massive filaments of dust in brown. The red infrared data from Spitzer shows warm dust clouds that have been heated by the newborn stars, with the brightest clouds between the two original galaxies.
The brilliant blue specks from the Chandra X-ray data are also star-forming regions containing hot, interstellar gas infused with elements such as oxygen, iron, magnesium and silicon, left over from supernova explosions. The elements will be incorporated into new generations of stars and planets.
The Antennae galaxies take their name from the long antenna-like “tidal tails” that extend out from the cores of the two galaxies. The tails were formed from tidal forces created during the initial collision of the galaxies, and are easier to see in the wide-angle view of the galaxies below. -wired.com
Back the Question at hand…
Two Galaxies Colliding or Two Black holes dancing?
From the most recent discoveries stating, at the very center of every galaxy is a black hole, I believe what we area looking at is two black holes “dancing” around each other as one of them will eventually pull the other in.
What do you think? What does this mean? Is your Milky way Galaxy eventually doomed?
Below are the best resources that I have recently come across discussing this phenomenon
- Morgan Freeman’s “Though the Wormhole” is a new series that does a great job at explaining the basics of Black holes
- BBC’s article: Researchers have seen the best evidence yet for a pair of black holes orbiting each other within the same galaxy.
- Keck observatory article
Popularity: 38% [?]