Engine of Merging Galaxies Pinpointed

A research team used the James Webb Space Telescope data to pinpoint the precise location of what they call the “engine” of the merging galaxy. They published their results in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The team at the Hiroshima University’s Hiroshima Astrophysical Science Center used mid-infrared observed with the James Webb Space Telescope to see that the source outshines everything else in the merging galaxies.

As galaxies merge, stars, planets, and others smash into one another. Most collisions only emit infrared light, which has longer wavelengths than light visible to humans and is beyond the scope of human perception. With the James Webb Space Telescope, they found that this engine is responsible for the bulk of the mid-infrared emission, up to 70% of the total infrared emission of the system, and the source has a radius no larger than 570 light years. This indicates that the energy is confined to a small space.

They still want to know what powers the source and plan to use the infrared spectra taken with the James Webb Space Telescope to investigate. It is also unusual that the ‘engine’ lies outside the merging galaxies’ main parts.

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