The Cosmic Collision of Arp 107: A Marvel in the Leo Minor Constellation
Arp 107, a mesmerizing pair of galaxies mid-collision, was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope on September 18, 2023. Situated 465 million light-years away in the constellation Leo Minor, this image showcases the cosmic crash between two distinct types of galaxies.
In the image, the larger galaxy on the left boasts a single spiral arm gracefully curving out from its core. Throughout this galaxy, dust and gas emit a radiant glow. On the other hand, the smaller galaxy on the right appears as nothing more than a luminous core. Connecting these peculiar galaxies is a delicate bridge made of dust and gas.
The larger galaxy in Arp 107 belongs to a class known as Seyfert galaxies. These spiral galaxies feature an incredibly bright and compact active galactic nucleus, fueled by a supermassive black hole. Approximately one in every ten galaxies is categorized as a Seyfert galaxy. American astronomer Halton Arp, who published his Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies in 1966, originally cataloged interacting and merging galaxies like Arp 107.
While observing such captivating galaxies, Hubble, utilizing its Advanced Camera for Surveys, has made remarkable observations of other colliding systems such as Arp-Madore 417-391 and the astonishing galactic triplet known as Arp 248.
Though viewing Arp 107 in the night sky is challenging due to its distance, a similar sight can be experienced by directing a telescope towards M51, famously known as the Whirlpool galaxy. Located between Alkaid, the end star of the Big Dipper’s handle, and Cor Caroli in the Canes Venatici constellation, M51 consists of a large spiral galaxy intertwined with a dwarf galaxy. Despite being 27 million light-years away from the Milky Way, this celestial duo proves to be a captivating and easily observable sight using even a modest telescope.