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Monday, April 9, 2012

Colliding galaxies


Image from galaxydynamics.org (in this site you can download the DVD for free).
The collision of galaxies is very common in the evolution of the universe.
Due to the extremely tenuous distribution of matter in the galaxies themselves, these collisions are not in the normal sense of the wordbut gravitational interactions.
The collision may lead to fusion. This occurs when two galaxies collide and do not have enough strength to continue traveling after the collision. Instead, they attract each other, returning back and eventually merge, after several passages through, forming a single galaxy. If one of the clusters in collision is much larger than the other, it will remain intact after the fusion, that it means that the largest galaxy will look the same, while the smaller galaxy is removed and become part of the large one.
Collisions of galaxies are now often simulated on computerswith all the physical parameters includedforces of gravitygas dissipationstar formation and feedback. The dynamical friction slows pairs of galaxies, which may or may not merge into one point, according to the initial energy of the relative orbits. A library of simulations of galaxy collisions can be found at the Observatoire de Paris: GALMER
Watch this fantastic animation about colliding galaxies (crédit: NASA):
Go to Hubble Site to learn more about this topic.
Leia a notícia em português na astroPT.
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