Stephan's Quintet: Intruder shocks tightly-knit group
CHANDRA X-RAY CENTER NEWS RELEASE
Posted: May 10, 2003
Stephan's Quintet is an excellent example of the tumultuous dynamics of a compact group. The motion of the galaxies through the hot gas, and the gravitational pull of nearby galaxies are stripping cool gas from the galaxies, thereby depriving them of the raw material from which to form new stars. In a few billion years the spiral galaxies in Stephan's Quintet will likely be transformed into elliptical galaxies.
During the past few billion years additional gas may have been stripped from the galaxies in the group and heated by collisions such as the one seen in these images. An intruder that may have passed through the center of the group at least twice is the faint galaxy C seen in the wide field optical image. The fainter blue cloud in the X-ray/optical image may be a relic of past collisions.
Ginevra Trinchieri of the INAF-Brera Observatory in Milan, Italy, Jack Sulentic of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and Dieter Brietschwerdt and Wolfgang Pietsch of the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany are co-authors of a paper that describes the Chandra data on Stephan's Quintet. The paper will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics (astro-ph 0302590).
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program, and TRW, Inc., Redondo Beach, Calif., is the prime for the spacecraft. The Smithsonian's Chandra X-ray Center controls science and flight operations from Cambridge, Mass., for the Headquarters, Washington.
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