Image of the Day: Quintet of Galaxies Rocked by Shock Wave Larger than the Milky Way
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June 11, 2012

Image of the Day: Quintet of Galaxies Rocked by Shock Wave Larger than the Milky Way

 

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Infrared observations made with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope revealed the presence of a huge intergalactic shock wave, or "sonic boom" in the middle of Stephan's Quintet, a group of galaxies which is now the scene of a gigantic cosmic cataclysm. This discovery, made in 2011 by an international research team including scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics (MPIK) in Heidelberg, provides a local view of what might have been going on in the early universe, when vast mergers and collisions between galaxies were commonplace.

When astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope turned their attention to a well-known group of galaxies called Stephan's Quintet, they were, quite simply, shocked at what they saw. There, sweeping through the group, lurks one of the biggest shock waves ever seen. For decades, astronomers using optical telescopes have known that the galaxies in this group, located about 300 million light years away, have a very distorted distribution of visible light from stars, indicating that the galaxies have experienced encounters in the past, and are now engaged in further collisions.

But this, as it turns out, is only part of the drama. Recently, astronomers have become able to measure what, apart from the stars, is present in Stephan's Quintet. By looking in the radio and X-rays they discovered huge quantities of gas -- about 100,000 million solar masses, mainly composed of hydrogen and helium -- in the space between the galaxies, more than all the gas inside the galaxies themselves.

A team of scientists from Caltech, USA and from the Astrophysics Department of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics (MPIK) in Heidelberg, Germany, discovered that one of the galaxies, called NGC7318b, which is falling towards the others at high speed, is generating a giant shock wave in front of it -- larger even than the Milky Way -- as it ploughs its way through the intergalactic gas.

The signature of the shock-wave was given by the detection of strong radiation from molecular hydrogen. When hydrogen molecules are "excited" by the mechanical energy produced in the collision and transported by shock waves, they emit a distinctive type of radiation that can be detected in the infrared, and it was this radiation that was picked up by Spitzer.

"The strength of the emission and the fact that it shows the gas to be highly disturbed was a huge surprise to us, said team leader Dr. Phil Appleton. "We expected to see the spectral signature of dust grains -- but instead we saw an almost pure laboratory-like spectrum of hydrogen molecules and almost nothing else. It was quite unlike anything we had seen before in a galaxy system."

Spectrometers have the ability to break light down into its component wavelengths, where the chemical signatures of the material that produced it can be seen as spectral lines. The width of these lines allows astronomers to determine the velocity of the gas, with wider lines indicating gas at a higher velocity. The hydrogen line seen by Spitzer in Stephan's Quintet is the widest ever observed for hot hydrogen molecules, corresponding to gas motions of 870 kilometres per second, equivalent to a Mach number of 100 or more.

"To better understand this situation", says Dr. Richard Tuffs, a team member from MPIK, "one can think of the shock waves created by supersonic aircraft in the Earth atmosphere. There, water droplets can condense behind the shock in humid conditions, while in Stephan's Quintet hydrogen molecules could form out of a turbulent and cooling intergalactic medium. Of course, all this is happening on an enormous scale in Stephan's Quintet."

The Spitzer observations provide a diagnostic for studying conditions in merging and colliding galaxies, which were much more prevalent in the early universe.

"Observing a nearby densely populated galaxy group, immersed in a thick gas cloud, gives us a local view of what might have been going on in the early universe about 10 billion years ago, soon after the first galaxies formed, when the intergalactic medium and the galaxy density were much greater than today. In this respect these observations are a bit like stepping into a time machine", said Dr. Cristina Popescu, another team member from MPIK.

The results may indicate that some of the emission from the most luminous infrared galaxies seen in the very distant Universe may actually be created not by stars, but by vast shocks in the gas between the colliding galaxies.

The Daily Galaxy via The Max Planck Society

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Comments

Backing up my own crystal universe model, this gas, i would suggest is feeding all galaxies. massive clouds of gas blanket all galaxies. We dont see local giant gas blankets because of their expanse. but anyway, we and all other galactic forms reside in the cracks of a crystal - cracks caused by cosmic tectonics - universal compression by external universes. upon cracking - giant quakes cause crystal 'matter' to convert into hydrogen blankets of gas - tis inside these blankets where the hurricanes thrive. if we could fly outside of this blanket - we would see the surrounding glowing dull red crystal - the magnetic origin.only the walls of crystal in contact with zero gravity space emit light.

In the early formation of the universe when the gas and dust created by the behemoth-nova that created the big bang, the first to form was the primordial galaxies; did planets, as we know of them today, exist in the early galaxies? Did planets have a chance to evolve in the first galaxies, and what were the early galaxies composed of? The early formation of the universe was very violent, like the birth of our own planet born out of the violent collisions of rocky material from the gas and dust that would clump together like lumpy cream of wheat. Heat and pressure are the ingredients that causes things to change and creating compounds and elements. The super shock wave in the early galaxy, does it make the development of the early solar systems possible? For we are a young 4 billion years old, how long did it take for planetary development to take place? What role did the shock wave play in this early development?

@kristi276

You reference conventional views of the scientific community.

The universe is not defined by convention human stupor.
I will point out again and again -
scientists can oly speculate when describing the mechanics.
Radio telescopes and optical telescopes , only outline
phenomena. Mere speculation takes over when detail is required.

I would argue that the big band timespan is a mere blip when compared to the true age of this universe

They have no idea that the visible universe is only one of seven belts of the universe.
They have no idea at all about the belt of our material universe, in which we exist materially, while on the inner side and the outer side of our visible, material-universe belt yet six further fine-matter belts exist.
Our scientists also have no idea that the entire universe constitutes a double spiral and egg shaped Creation, and so on.
The entire universe, with an age of around 46,000,000,000,000(Trillion) years, reckoned from the Big Bang up to today, will indeed expand up to the point in time of 155,500,000,000,000 years, to then, through a contraction, collapse upon itself again.

During its expansion, the material belt, respectively, our visible universe, is - through a nearly endless process of transformation - constantly renewed and therefore always stays young.
The oldest material that you have found is close to 40,000,000,000 years old, while we here on the Earth still have obtained no such material, and for that reason our scientists also dwell in erroneous assumptions. -http://www.futureofmankind.co.uk/Billy_Meier/Contact_Report_228

7 Belts of The Creation ( Universe ) http://www.futureofmankind.co.uk/Billy_Meier/Creation

@Christopher

Very interesting. Spent hours reading through the site and without my knowing, it turns out, one of the craft photographed, i have met myself and learn they maybe dwarf humans from andromeda galaxy.

Only since meeting this orange/pink glowing orb, have i been discovering new ideas swarming in the cosmos.

And Christopher, me and the other half were on our way home in the car ( birmingham/england ) , when she pulled over while i had noticed a light above ( maybe 1 mile high ) It turned out she spotted it before me. We opened our windows and watched eagerly trying to pinpoint identity. No noise, odd mixtures of colours on its underside. The otherhalf got a better look of the underside and commented ' a mirror '.
Anyhow, it continued to our right and we headed straight accross the junction home. She kept her eyes on the road
but wanted to look for it. I lost sight as it continued right. Now, five minutes later we arrived on the drive, home. We stopped and were looking at each other trying to prove a conventional object - then i look out the windscreen( upper ) and what was hanging there in sky , much closer and clearer than the mile high sighting - was the same object/colour blah blah.
I made sure she was seeing as i was, we were in awe. Got out the car and just went blank but excited.
This object was there to see us, i truley think that and so does she. Almost as if it knew we spotted it and came back to drill the fact home. Now it must ov moved very quick from were it was up in the sky. Because getting home meant passing round the back of our house - all the back streets - and i was looking everywhere for this thing during that time. It must of moved miles in a matter of seconds - just as we pulled up on the drive i reckon. So at a guess it was easily 100's miles away when i last seen it in the sky.
Then , at the back of our garden, bout 50 metres highish, there it was - maybe reading our minds, transferring data/love/energy - hard to say.
But that is true - sober as a judge, been at work all day. She was sober also.

Two months ago, in the late hours. I was hanging out with my two friends in one of their 2nd floor rooms. We were all huddled around the TV playing an xbox game. I was sitting directly against the wall but right behind the window (that was open but had the blind down) so only i could see out the corner of the window. A strange hum and blue glow came from the window so my attention quickly changed from the TV to the window. It was an orb of light, that sat still in the window. The detail of this object was like something I've ever seen. It was transparent but I could see the volume of light was rotating and pulsing in the window. I sat there in silence for about 40 seconds, and it flashed a white light in my face. It reduced in size from its original size to the point of being completely invisible. As it disappeared the humming stopped.

With no words i looked at my friend to my left ( who had no view out the window to his angle and the blind) and he said Sean Sean!! Did you just see a blue light? I shook my head at him in shock of what i just saw. Before I could say something he also complained about how "I" made an annoying humming sound.

what ever I saw was real, No drugs were involved. I have questions but no one has been able to give me answers.

http://www.futureofmankind.co.uk/Billy_Meier/Main_Page

Here, i have found some answers.

My husband and I were sitting in our hot tub back in either 1996 or 97 at 2 am in the morning. Both of us were sitting side by side and saw huge SHOCKWAVE ring that went from the size of a star and radiated in a fraction of a second to a huge ring taking up about 20% of the northwestern sky. Then it faded within 2 seconds. WHAT WAS IT! The whole thing was completely silent and we didn't see any kind of an explosion either. We both saw it and I posted it on FB only to be told that what we saw was impossible! Neither one of drink or take drugs either.
So what was it? It's been ~15 years ago but neither one of us can forget it.


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