Galaxy Kiso 5639 Resembles a Skyrocket in Hubble Image

Posted on June 30, 2016

Kiso 5639 Skyrocket galaxy

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured imagery of Kiso 5639 which is nicknamed the Skyrocket galaxy. The image resemble a skryocket from an impressive fireworks display. This galaxy appears flattened because it is tilted head-on. These galaxies with elongated shapes are also called "tadpoles" by astronomers.

Debra Elmegreen, leader of the research from Vassar College, says in a statement, "The current thinking is that galaxies in the early universe grow from accreting gas from the surrounding neighborhood. It's a stage that galaxies, including our Milky Way, must go through as they are growing up."

The international team of researchers selected Kiso 5639 from a spectroscopic survey of 10 nearby tadpole galaxies. The bright gas in the galaxy's head contains fewer heavier elements than the rest of the galaxy.

Elmegreen says, "The metallicity suggests that there has to be rather pure gas, composed mostly of hydrogen, coming into the star-forming part of the galaxy, because intergalactic space contains more pristine hydrogen-rich gas. Otherwise, the starburst region should be as rich in heavy elements as the rest of the galaxy."

The study on Kiso 5639 has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal. The Hubble Site has hi-res versions of the Skyrocket galaxy here.

Photo: NASA, ESA, and D. Elmegreen (Vassar College)