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News Release Archive:

News Release 21 of 967

July 10, 2014 10:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2014-26

Hubble Sees Spiral Bridge of Young Stars Between Two Ancient Galaxies

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Image: Galaxy Cluster SDSS J1531+3414

Galaxy Cluster SDSS J1531+3414STScI-PRC2014-26a

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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:

This is a Hubble Space Telescope photograph of a never-before-seen string of pearls twisted into a corkscrew shape that winds around the cores of two colliding galaxies. The "pearls" are superclusters of blazing, blue-white, newly born stars. The whole assembly must result from the gravitational tidal forces present in the galaxy collision. The serendipitous discovery was made while astronomers were studying the galaxy cluster SDSS J1531+3414.

The underlying physics behind the "beads on a string" shape is related to describing the behavior of self-gravitating clumps of gas. It's analogous to the process where rain falls in drops rather than in continuous filaments from clouds. It's called the Jeans instability, and it can play out on distance scales of enormous orders of magnitude.

Object Name: SDSS J1531+3414

Image Type: Astronomical/Annotated

Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Tremblay (European Southern Observatory)

Acknowledgment: M. Gladders and M. Florian (University of Chicago), S. Baum, C. O'Dea, K. Cooke (Rochester Institute of Technology), M. Bayliss (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), H. Dahle (University of Oslo), T. Davis (European Southern Observatory), J. Rigby (Goddard Space Flight Center), K. Sharon (University of Michigan), E. Soto (The Catholic University of America), and E. Wuyts (Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics)

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The above montage includes these images:

Galaxy Cluster SDSS J1531+3414 (Clean) Image Type: Astronomical Galaxy Cluster SDSS J1531+3414 (Clean)PRC2014-26b Spiral Bridge of Young Stars in SDSS J1531+3414 Image Type: Astronomical Spiral Bridge of Young Stars in SDSS J1531+3414

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