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Magnificent ring of stars captured by Hubble is the result of two galaxies in head-on collision

After a chaotic merger, the enormous gravitational forces between two galaxies in the constellation Eridanus bent and twisted them into a massive, blazing ring of stars.

A magnificent image of two galaxies merging, twisted into a massive, blazing ring of stars by the powerful gravitational forces between them, was captured by the Hubble space observatory.

The interwoven galaxies, collectively known as Arp-Madore 417-391, are located in the Southern Hemisphere constellation of Eridanus, about 670 million light-years from Earth.


The new image was published on November 21 by the European Space Agency and was taken by Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), which is specifically intended to look for galaxies from the early cosmos (ESA).

The centers of the two galaxies are snuggled next to one other after being bent and twisted into a massive ring by gravity, according to a statement posted online by ESA officials (opens in new tab).

The newest odd galaxy discovered in the southern sky is the cosmic collision, which is recorded in the Arp-Madore Catalog of Southern Peculiar Galaxies and Associations, a collection of over 6,000 photos.

The Arp-Madore 2026-424 galaxy merger, which generated a similar but imprecise ring structure that resembled a ghost's face, was discovered by Hubble in June 2019.


According to NASA, ring patterns only develop in galaxy mergers when two merging galaxies strike one another head-on rather than being drawn closer gradually by gravity.

The rings survive just a short time—about 100 million years. After then, the stars are gradually drawn back into their parent galaxies, which, between 1 billion and 2 billion years later, combine into a single, new galaxy, according to NASA.


Only a few of the about 100 known galaxy merger rings have a shape as flawless as the recently discovered Arp-Madore 417-391. The almost identical size and brightness of the two galactic cores in the image provide an indication as to the colliding galaxies' approximate size, which likely contributed to the new ring's symmetrical design. But the precise mechanisms via which the ring came into being remain a mystery.

ESA has identified Arp-Madore 417-391 as a prospective target for the James Webb Space Telescope to image in the future. So, finding out more about this beautiful cosmic disc might not take too long.

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