A Galaxy of Roses

Gravity Shapes the UniverseGravity. It spans time and space.  It shapes, creates, destroys.  It can be as gentle as the pull on the earth's oceans, or as violent as to tear whole stars apart and fling the debris millions of miles into space.  It is a power that is everywhere and yet we do not understand much of its basic structure.

In celebration of the twenty-first anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope's deployment in April 2011, astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute pointed Hubble's eye to an especially photogenic group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273.

The larger of the spiral galaxies, known as UGC 1810, has a disk that is tidally distorted into a rose-like shape by the gravitational tidal pull of the companion galaxy below it, known as UGC 1813. A swath of blue jewels across the top is the combined light from clusters of intensely bright and hot young blue stars. These massive stars glow fiercely in ultraviolet light.  Read More ...