Hubble finds ‘ghosts’ of past galaxies in space

This image shows the winding green filaments observed by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope within eight different galaxies. The ethereal wisps in these images were illuminated, perhaps briefly, by a blast of radiation from a quasar — a very luminous and compact region that surrounds a supermassive black hole at the centre of a galaxy. In each of these eight images a quasar beam has caused once-invisible filaments in deep space to glow through a process called photoionisation. Oxygen, helium, nitrogen, sulphur and neon in the filaments absorb light from the quasar and slowly re-emit it over many thousands of years. Their unmistakable emerald hue is caused by ionised oxygen, which glows green. The Hubble team found a total of twenty galaxies that had gas ionised by quasars; those featured here are (from left to right on top row) the Teacup (more formally known as 2MASX J14302986+1339117), NGC 5972, 2MASX J15100402+0740370 and UGC 7342, and (from left to right on bottom row) NGC 5252, Mrk 1498, UGC 11185 and 2MASX J22014163+1151237.

(MEDIA GENERAL) – The Hubble Space Telescope has captured pictures of green ghosts believed to be part of past galaxies that once collided violently in space.

The Hubble scientists released the images Thursday. The green wisps in the pictures are thought to have been lit up by the blast of a quasar. A quasar is a very bright region surrounding a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy.

The quasar’s light would have taken tens of thousands of years to reach the green objects and illuminate them, according to scientists. The unmistakable emerald color is caused by ionized oxygen which glows green.

The structures, that look “ghostly” according to scientists, are huge. They span tens of thousands of light-years. Hubble scientists report the green images are thought to be long tails of gas formed when galaxies merged violently a long time ago.

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