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A 'Jellyfish' Galaxy Swims Into View of NASA’s Upcoming Webb Telescope

22 Apr 2019, 07:11 UTC
A 'Jellyfish' Galaxy Swims Into View of NASA’s Upcoming Webb Telescope
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If you look at the galaxy ESO 137-001 in visible light, you can see why it’s considered an example of a “jellyfish” galaxy. Blue ribbons of young stars dangle from the galaxy’s disk like cosmic tentacles. If you look at the galaxy in X-ray light, however, you will find a giant tail of hot gas streaming behind the galaxy. After launch, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will study ESO 137-001 to learn how the gas is being removed from the galaxy, and why stars are forming within that gaseous tail.The newly forming stars in the tail are mysterious because processes common in large groups of galaxies should make it difficult for new stars to emerge. Most galaxies live in groups — for example, the Milky Way is a member of the Local Group, which also contains galaxies like Andromeda and the Triangulum spiral. Some galaxies reside in much larger gatherings of hundreds or even thousands of galaxies known as a galaxy cluster. The “jellyfish” galaxy ESO 137-001 is part of a cluster called Abell 3627.A galaxy cluster isn’t just galaxies surrounded by empty space. The realm between the galaxies is filled with hot, tenuous gas. For galaxies living in the ...

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