Runaway galaxies

NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team
April 23, 2015
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NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team

This schematic illustrates the creation of a runaway galaxy. In the first panel, an "intruder" spiral galaxy approaches a galaxy cluster center, where a compact elliptical galaxy (cE) already revolves around a massive central elliptical galaxy. In the second panel, a close encounter occurs and the compact elliptical receives a gravitational kick from the intruder. In the third panel, the compact elliptical escapes the galaxy cluster while the intruder is devoured by the giant elliptical galaxy in the cluster center.

Image credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team