Credit: NASA/Ohio U./T.Statler et al.
Building an Bigger Galaxy
Mergers are thought to be good ways to build large galaxies from small ones. New X-ray observations are showing that mergers may be more common than once thought. A Chandra X-ray observatory image of an elliptical galaxy NGC 1700 is a case in point. Chandra revealed a huge disk of extremely hot gas some 90,000 light years in diameter. The image above shows the Chandra image of this disk in false-color, in the energy range 0.3-0.8 keV (roughly corresponding to gas temperatures of 3 to 8 million degrees). This hot disk (the largest such object ever seen) is thought to have been produced by the merger of a spiral galaxy and an elliptical galaxy containing hot gas.
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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified January 6, 2002