Mangled Galaxies Racing At Over 6 Million Miles Per Hour

Illustration for article titled Mangled Galaxies Racing At Over 6 Million Miles Per Hour

NASA released two stunning photos of galaxies in the Virgo Cluster, whose massive gravity distorts the galaxies' shape and sends them "screaming through the cluster at speeds of 10 million kilometers per hour, a truly terrifying velocity," says Phil Plait.

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The Virgo Cluster is the nearest big collection of galaxies to Earth, and it's filled with a collection of gas called the intercluster medium, whose pressure drives the galaxies' own internal gas out into the cluster, roiling up the galaxies' dust. The image above is NGC 4402, and here's the other one, NGC 4522.

Illustration for article titled Mangled Galaxies Racing At Over 6 Million Miles Per Hour
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It's well worth reading Phil Plait's whole write-up about these galaxies and why they're so weirdly shaped, over at his "Bad Astronomer" blog at Discover Magazine.

[HubbleSite and HubbleSite via Discover Magazine]

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DISCUSSION

I likes my galaxies like I likes my women...

Stable, evenly-centered, and well-proportioned. (What? How dare you!)