back to article Very fabric of space-time RIPPED apart in latest Hubble pic

Spiral galaxy ESO 137-001 is ramming through the Norma galaxy cluster so hard it's spilling its guts out, leaving bright blue streaks of its own gases behind. Spiral galaxy ESO 137-001 The spiral is zooming in between other galaxies in the Norma cluster, over 200 million light years away, at a speed of nearly 4.5 million …


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  1. Stoneshop
    Thumb Up

    Blue jellyfish-like tendrils?

    They look an awful lot like noodles to me. And that brownish stuff must surely be tomato sauce.

    1. Semtex451

      Re: Blue jellyfish-like tendrils?

      I agree, this could be the first, out of focus photo... of you know who.

      1. AbelSoul

        Re: Blue jellyfish-like tendrils?

        And at nearly 4.5 million miles an hour, no wonder it's often referred to as "flying".

        1. channel extended

          Re: Blue jellyfish-like tendrils?

          The speed reported is only around six tenth's of a percent of light. So not really that fast.

          Yes it is faster than a fart spreading through a crowd, but not as fast as a rumor about free cheese.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Blue jellyfish-like tendrils?

            here is the math...

            speed of light M/s 186,000,000 *60 (seconds /hr)

            Speed of light to hr 11,160,000,000

            speed of galaxy 4,500,000

            take the speed of galaxy/speed of light hr=0.000403226

            multiply by 100=.04% speed of light... so ya not even 1%. Wonder though, at that speed what is the mass increase of an entire galaxy..

            mind boggling... Are my numbers off... how did you get .6 not .4?

            So with my math, the galaxy could be here in 496 billion years???

            1. channel extended

              Re: Blue jellyfish-like tendrils?

              Sorry, dropped a few zero's and only approximated it. Doing it it my head. Can only blame it on a brain fart.

            2. Stoneshop

              Re: Blue jellyfish-like tendrils?

              speed of light M/s 186,000,000 *60 (seconds /hr)

              You sure have very short hours where you live.

            3. Resound

              Re: Blue jellyfish-like tendrils?

              The speed of light is 299,792,458 m/s You may be thinking of 186,000 miles per second which *is* about the speed of light.

      2. Pirate Dave Silver badge

        "you know who" ?

        Aw, come on, this isn't Jehovah you're talking about. You won't get stoned for saying "That piece of halibut was good enough for the FSM".

        Say His noodly name. The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

        There, doesn't that feel better?

  2. frank ly

    Space is BIG ...

    ... and it's absolutely amazing!

    1. Tom 7

      Re: Space is BIG ...

      but dont cross it.

    2. James 51

      Re: Space is BIG ...

      Look at all those galaxies and think of the destruction on a literally (and I do mean literally in this case) astronomical scale. If we never find a way to go out an visit at least other stars in our galaxy our existence will have been a colossal waste.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Space is BIG ...

        There is almost no destruction - if you were in the galaxy you wouldn't even notice.

        Space is big and stars are a long way apart

  3. BilboBobbins

    Ok, I'm curious. If the astrophysicists tell us all galaxies are moving away from all other galaxies, how can such collisions occur?

    IANAAP, obviously.

    1. Tom 7

      Re: If the astrophysicists tell us all galaxies are moving away from all other galaxies

      they dont.

      Space is expanding but things in it get attracted to each other and things get thrown around as a result.

    2. Stoneshop

      IANAAP either

      but figure you're looking at a fireworks display. Some piece goes up, explodes, and stuff fans out from that initial explosion with trajectories that (ignoring gravity and wind) won't intersect. But then those sparkly bits start to explode too, throwing stuff out in all directions from the point of those second-stage explosions. And debris trajectories from those explosions may well intersect.

      Another option is that one of those galaxies was diverted because of the roadworks for a hyperspace bypass, and suddenly found itself in the path of another one who was ignorantly barging straight ahead at full speed.

      1. cortland

        Re: IANAAP either

        A Catharine Wheel off its nail, eh?

  4. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    A war?

    Where the opposing sides are shooting galaxies at each other? And pretty accurately too - none of those near-miss thingies...

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: A war?

      I'm not sure they'd need to be that accurate. If I'm throwing a ball I might miss the hoop. But if both ball and hoop are a hundred-thousand lightyears wide, I'm not sure I could miss if I tried.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: A war?

        But if the hoop is a hundred million light years away from you, you'd better be very careful with your aim...

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon

          Re: A war?

          Well, of course if you're going to go to the effort of throwing a galaxy at someone you'd want to check your maths first. It's not like someone just loaded it into a trebuchet is it?

  5. 0laf

    Is it he?

    Traversing the universe touching things with his noodly appendage

    1. Martin Budden Silver badge

      Re: Is it he?

      Did you completely miss the first post?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In a similar vein, I rather like these SDSS images from a while back.

    Galaxy Zoo

  7. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    I wonder

    If there's some distant version of NASA trying to figure out how to deflect asteroids, when one day someone spots this whole galaxy heading their way.

    1. cyborg

      Re: I wonder

      Well we already know we're on a collision course with the Andromeda galaxy. However you've got to remember at some billions of light years away these things aren't exactly going to be an immediate threat to any particular star system.

      1. Amonynous

        Re: I wonder

        Or any star system for that matter. The chances of two stars colliding during a galaxy merger are very small as galaxies are mostly empty space. I once heard it described as being similar to letting two moths loose in a football stadium and having them collide mid-air by accident.

        The stars have large differences in velocity and gravity is weak over long distances. Since the stars don't spend a lot of time in close proximity (due to the aforementioned empty space plus the high closing speeds of those that do happen to get near to each other), you can't rely on gravity to pull them together. Instead you have to get very (un)lucky, a bit like shooting two rifle bullets at each other from a long distance apart - pretty hard to make them collide unless you set up the perfect starting conditions.

        Most of what happens is similar to the picture in the article - lots of gas and dust gets perturbed due to the gravitational interaction between the two galaxies and there will be one or more bursts of star formation as gas and dust is compressed together, various interesting tails will form as gas, dust and stars are dragged out of their orbits around the galaxy centre, etc. But very few actual collisions.

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: I wonder

          <blockquote>The chances of two stars colliding during a galaxy merger are very small as galaxies are mostly empty space.</blockquote>

          Stars may be unlikely to collide but they do risk being slung out of the galaxy and losing the protection against cosmic rays which the galaxy's magnetic field provides. There's also the problem of stars passing nearby which trigger the infall of comets, threatening a system's planets with bombardment.

          Anyway, when Andromeda hits the Milky Way it won't matter to us. The Earth will have been swallowed up by our expanding sun before then; in fact we've only got about 800 million years left before our oceans start to boil away.

          1. Michael Thibault

            Re: We should all wonder all the time

            And less than .1% of that time will have passed before the orbits of the inner planets become sufficiently irregular that everyone still alive in these parts will be praying for a cosmic express bus -- with heating and air-conditioning, both -- to anywhere else. Sometime between then and the oceanic boiling-off, though, the Earth-Moon distance will have grown sufficiently to increase the propensity of the planet we're currently on to wobble haphazardly in its spin - which could make for some very excellent surfing -- but not everyone is into that,. Not to mention that it would be a little difficult which direction to head in for a surfing safari.

          2. launcap Silver badge

            Re: I wonder

            >Stars may be unlikely to collide but they do risk being slung out

            >of the galaxy and losing the protection against cosmic rays which

            >the galaxy's magnetic field

            But at least it takes them out of the Slow Zone and into the Zone of Thought..


          3. MacroRodent

            Re: I wonder

            Galactic magnetic field? Is that strong enough to matter, compared to the effects of the solar magnetic field and of course the terrestrial field?

  8. Alan Sharkey

    at 4.5million miles/hr.

  9. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Reminds me of the Galaxy song

    Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving,

    revolving at nine hundred miles an hour.....



    So remember when you're feeling very small and insecure,

    How amazingly unlikely is your birth!

    And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space

    because there's bugger all down here on Earth!

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: Reminds me of the Galaxy song

      I believe it was the same bunch that released a song with the most excellent lyrics..

      Life's a piece of shit

      When you look at it

      Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true.

      You'll see it's all a show

      Keep 'em laughing as you go

      Just remember that the last laugh is on you.

  10. Ugotta B. Kiddingme



    1. Alister

      Re: OUT OF THE WAY!

      It's an Emergency Galaxy...

      You can't hear the NEE-NAH NEE-NAH but you can sure see the Blue Lights!

  11. Lars Silver badge


    Assuming gold is the result of collisions between neutron stars (say some boffins of to day), collisions occur but not very "often". As for speed, that is difficult, as we seem to forget it's about time and distance and not about a physical experience. And "often" is often as difficult.

  12. Robert Forsyth

    Is it not Cellular automaton

    Conway's Game of Life

  13. MrDamage Silver badge

    New wallpaper

    Just downloading a copy of the "huge" file fomr the Hubble website. Then gonna take it to a wallpaper shop, and see if they can make some custom wallpaper for my study/workshop.

    Might make up my own little "You are here" pointer so visitors can feel truly insignificant.

  14. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    I don't think so any time soon in the near future

    The effect of ESO 137-001's journey is to leave the seeds of star-making in its wake, but the galaxy is losing so much of its stellar fuel in this way, it's likely to have trouble making its own stars in the future.

    In your dreams, buster, where imagination can deliver knightmares for star performers.

  15. Time is relative

    Confusing the creator with creation is silly.

  16. robarm

    Think about being in one of those systems

    Anything evolving around one of the stars being created in the wake of that galaxy will inhabit a star system in intergalactic space. Talk about being alone in the dark...

  17. hapticz


    as long as i can get to the potty in time, and not mess my undies, i don't care what happens 'out there'. brown streaks, are so difficult to deal with!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Looks like someone ran a starburst filter on that photo. Either that or the Hubble mirror needs a little spit and polish. Or maybe they are particle jets like what black holes have. Or maybe I don't know what I talking about. Anyone in the know care to elucidate?

    1. kryptonaut

      Re: shopped?

      If you mean the cross-shaped spikes on the brighter stars, these are caused by light diffracting off the supports for the secondary mirror on the HST.

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