Hubble Finds Medusa in the Sky

From NASA

Oct. 24, 2019

Hubble Finds Medusa in the Sky

NGC 4194, the Medusa merger
The galaxy pictured in this Hubble image has an especially evocative name: the Medusa merger.

Often referred to by its somewhat drier New General Catalogue designation of NGC 4194, this was not always one entity, but two. An early galaxy consumed a smaller gas-rich system, throwing out streams of stars and dust into space. These streams, seen rising from the top of the merged galaxy, resemble the writhing snakes that Medusa, a monster in ancient Greek mythology, famously had on her head in place of hair, lending the object its intriguing name.

The legend of Medusa also held that anyone who saw her face would transform into stone. In this case, you can feast your eyes without fear on the center of the merged galaxy, a region known as Medusa’s eye. All the cool gas pooling here has triggered a burst of star formation, causing it to stand out brightly against the dark cosmic backdrop.

The Medusa merger is located about 130 million light-years away in the constellation of Ursa Major (the Great Bear).

Text credit: ESA (European Space Agency)
Image credit: ​ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Adamo

Last Updated: Oct. 24, 2019

Editor: Rob Garner

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October 26, 2019 2:41 am

Now that is Real Science.

MJE VK5ELL

Samuel C Cogar
October 26, 2019 4:24 am

Huuummm, ….. looks to me like something “out of sight” at the bottom right …. is sucking the guts out of that galaxy. 🙂

F.LEGHORN
October 26, 2019 4:35 am

I love this stuff. More please.

bonbon
October 26, 2019 5:54 am

Always check X-ray images :
comment image
A tour :
https://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2009/medusa/medusa_wwt_sm_web.mov

So if he 2 merging galaxies had central black holes, what happened to these?

rah
Reply to  bonbon
October 26, 2019 8:16 am

Eventually they would merge and possibly a Quasar would light up.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  bonbon
October 26, 2019 1:37 pm

Is that REALLY a black hole marked on the JPG? Or do they ASSUME it’s one?

dirtydave54
October 26, 2019 6:38 am

Looks like Medusa?
That’s pretty lame.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  dirtydave54
October 30, 2019 4:50 pm

Catfish in Heron’s beak

Olen
October 26, 2019 7:56 am

Better to be here than there

Keith Rowe
October 26, 2019 7:56 am

My thoughts have been that black holes are galactic regenerators.

beng135
October 26, 2019 8:23 am

Could be what the Milky Way – Andromeda merger will look like in 5 – 6 billion yrs. Common occurrence in the cosmos.

joe
October 26, 2019 9:46 am

maybe the original discoverer speaks spanish. to me it looks more like a jellyfish, and the name of the jellyfish in spanish is medusa.

Remo
Reply to  joe
October 26, 2019 10:22 am

Excactly!

Jeff Labute
October 26, 2019 10:19 am

To me it looks more like a gas engine with a fan on the front and carburetor on top, and fumes spewing from behind. lol

Jeff Alberts
October 26, 2019 1:33 pm

” An early galaxy consumed a smaller gas-rich system, throwing out streams of stars and dust into space.”

That’s what they assumed happened, but it’s stated as fact. Could very well be totally wrong.

Dave
October 26, 2019 3:18 pm

What would be the distance (roughly) between the far upper left and far lower right of that formation? Also, that yellow object in the lower right looks interesting. Has that been described?

beng135
Reply to  Dave
October 27, 2019 9:01 am

Just guessing, but it’s yellow (unlike the surrounding material), so prb’ly considerably red-shifted, and so a distant galaxy.

n.n
October 26, 2019 4:30 pm

Colorful signals and pretty patterns.

Johann Wundersamer
November 2, 2019 7:39 pm

“An early galaxy consumed a smaller gas-rich system, throwing out streams of stars and dust into space. These streams, seen rising from the top of the merged galaxy, resemble the writhing snakes that Medusa, a monster in ancient Greek mythology, famously had on her head in place of hair, lending the object its intriguing name.”
____________________________________

Well said. So this is the origin of the Ancient Greeks’ presentation of “Medusa” – a picture that actually depicts the mental state of fatalism.

That fatalism which led to the downfall of the ancient Greek Empire.

The mental state that apparently dominates the Middle East till today.

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