Hubble Views Galaxy Pair MRK 1034

Hubble Views Galaxy Pair MRK 1034

To the left of the image, PGC 9074 is a type Sa spiral galaxy with a bright bulge and tightly wound arms. Nearby, PGC 9071 is a type Sb galaxy, similar in size but with a fainter bulge and more spaced-out spiral arms. Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA (acknowledgment, Judy Schmidt)

This Hubble image shows spiral galaxies PGC 9074 and PGC 9071, also known as galaxy pair MRK 1034.

Looking towards the constellation of Triangulum (The Triangle), in the northern sky, lies the galaxy pair MRK 1034. The two very similar galaxies, named PGC 9074 and PGC 9071, are close enough to one another to be bound together by gravity, although no gravitational disturbance can yet be seen in the image. These objects are probably only just beginning to interact gravitationally.

Both are spiral galaxies, and are presented to our eyes face-on, so we are able to appreciate their distinctive shapes. On the left of the image, spiral galaxy PGC 9074 shows a bright bulge and two spiral arms tightly wound around the nucleus, features which have led scientists to classify it as a type Sa galaxy. Close by, PGC 9071 — a type Sb galaxy — although very similar and almost the same size as its neighbor, has a fainter bulge and a slightly different structure to its arms: their coils are further apart.

The spiral arms of both objects clearly show dark patches of dust obscuring the light of the stars lying behind, mixed with bright blue clusters of hot, recently-formed stars. Older, cooler stars can be found in the glowing, compact yellowish bulge towards the center of the galaxy. The whole structure of each galaxy is surrounded by a much fainter round halo of old stars, some residing in globular clusters.

Gradually, these two neighbors will attract each other, the process of star formation will be increased and tidal forces will throw out long tails of stars and gas. Eventually, after maybe hundreds of millions of years, the structures of the interacting galaxies will merge together into a new, larger galaxy.

The images combined to create this picture were captured by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys.


2 Comments on "Hubble Views Galaxy Pair MRK 1034"

  1. MRK 1034. How do we know that in this system of two galaxies that the two are approaching each other rather than receding?

  2. Madanagopal.V.C | July 4, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Reply

    Galaxies will generally gravitationaly attract each other for final gobbling up in galactic cannibalism of the smaller one by the big. The repulsion of galaxies will be found only in case of Dark Matter found in between which will throw them out (An Anti-Gravitation between a Matter and Dark Matter).
    Thank You.

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