Apr 24, 2017 05:54 PM EDT
Astronomers have captured stunning images of a Jellyfish-Shaped Galaxy in the Abell 2670 cluster with their Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE). the tentacles of the jellyfish are actually the tails of gas and nursery stars that were pushed by the intense ram pressure stripping.
That unusual phenomenon was first caught eyes of the scientists from Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute in Daejeon, South Korea. In a paper published in ArXiv on Apr. 18, researchers described that they have used MUSE equipped ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile. Usually, jellyfish-shaped galaxies form while approaching into a massive cluster halo, then ram pressure pushes the young stars through the intracluster medium due to their gas-poor nature and low levels of star formation.
Although, jellyfish-shaped galaxies are the common example of stripped galaxies, but in this case, researchers found same characteristics in the elliptical galaxy for the first time. Lead researcher Yun-Kyeong Sheen wrote,“In this paper, we present MUSE observations of an elliptical galaxy in Abell 2670 with long tails of material visible in the optical spectra, as well as blobs with tadpole-like morphology. Now, researchers are doing a morphological analysis of the galaxy in search of some invaluable information that found never before.
According to Phys.org, there was an extended H-alpha disk found at the center of the galaxy. The team also found long ionized gas tails and bright concentrated emission at the center of the disk. Deep orbital images revealed several blue stars forming blobs at the corresponding location of H-alpha blobs that gives it a tadpole-like shape.
Sheen added that gas tails are pointing away from the cluster center that ram pressure stripping is currently active. All tails in the galaxy have an individual blob at the upstream towards the cluster center. All of this evidence denote that the galaxy is a post-merger elliptical galaxy which is currently undergoing ram pressure stripping.
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