September 26, 2023

A Cosmic Draw: Interacting Galaxies With Monumentally Energetic Cores

Hubble Space Telescope of Arp 282, a connecting galaxy set that is made up of the Seyfert galaxy NGC 169 (bottom) and the galaxy IC 1559 (top). Credit: ESA/Hubble & & NASA, J. Dalcanton, Dark Energy Survey, DOE, FNAL/DECam, CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/ AURA, SDSS, Acknowledgement: J. Schmidt
It is now extensively accepted among astronomers that an important element of how galaxies evolve is the way they connect with one another. As common as these interactions are believed to be in the Universe, it is unusual to capture an image of 2 galaxies communicating in such a noticeably dynamic way.
The topic of this image is called Arp 282, a communicating galaxy pair that is composed of the Seyfert galaxy NGC 169 (bottom) and the galaxy IC 1559 (top). If youre interested in discovering more about Seyfert galaxies, you can check out the Seyfert galaxy NGC 5728 here.
Interestingly, both of the galaxies consisting of Arp 282 have monumentally energetic cores, referred to as active stellar nuclei (AGN), although it is difficult to tell that from this image. This is really rather lucky, since if the full emission of two AGNs was visible in this image, then it would most likely obscure the magnificently comprehensive tidal interactions occurring between NGC 169 and IC 1559.

When two galaxies communicate, gas, dust and even whole solar systems will be drawn away from one galaxy towards the other by these tidal forces. This process can really be seen in action in this image– fragile streams of matter have formed, visibly connecting the 2 galaxies.