Public Wants Hubble to Study Hugging Galaxies

Article written: 2 Mar , 2009
Updated: 26 Apr , 2016
by

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NASA asked the public to vote on where they want the Hubble Space Telescope to be pointed in the “Hubble, You Decide” contest. Nearly 140,000 votes were cast online to help decide. And the winner is: a pair of interacting galaxies that look like they are hugging. Called Arp 274 (from the Arp Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies) these two galaxies won over five other celestial candidates. The Hubble observations will be taken during the International Year of Astronomy’s “100 Hours of Astronomy,” taking place April 2 – 5. The full-color galaxy image will be released publicly during that time.

Drawn together by their gravity, the two galaxies are starting to interact. The spiral shapes of these galaxies are mostly intact, but evidence can be seen of the gravitational distortions they are creating within each other. When galaxies interact and merge together, the gas clouds inside them often form tremendous numbers of new stars.

According to NASA: “The new picture of Arp 274 promises to reveal intriguing never-before-seen details in the galactic grand slam.”

We’ll be sure to post the image when it is released.

Source: Hubblesite


46 Responses

  1. Dave says

    A great idea to get the public more involved. NASA can arbitrarily pick the objects it wishes to study and then allow the public to prioritize the order in which those objects are captured.

    It’s too bad the telescope when retired will not be able to come back to Earth; it would be a joy to see it in person in a place such as the Air and Space Museum.

  2. Dave says

    (And by “come back to Earth” I mean intact and preserved.)

  3. If galaxies are colliding, how can the universe be expanding?

    Did the Newtonian God magically and miraculously intervene to counteract the inertia of the Lemaitrian God’s Big Bang?

  4. ND says

    Oils,

    At the local level such as within a galaxy and within a local group of galaxies, the gravity is stronger than the expansion of the universe. But don’t take my word for it, the answer to your question is but a google search away.

  5. ND says

    Dave,

    There has to be a way to bring it back unmanned. I wonder if a private company might want to take a stab at trying to bring it back. It would need to be some sort of capsule that could cover the entire telescope and bring it back through reentry with as little damage as possible.

  6. ND,

    How can gravitation, which is the weakest force in the entire universe, counteract redshifts of over 7400 km/sec?

    P.S.: This is yet another system where the redshifts of the objects show them to be at drastically different distances, but they are in obvious contact. RV for the three components are – A 7483kps, B 8654kps and C 7618kps.

  7. Hemal says

    Dear All,

    HST will have tremendous historic value in the future. We have sentiments attached to it. To bring it back safely to earth is not an impossible task. Though, it is extremely costly one. But, if brought back, the cost can be recovered in a month by exhibiting it to the public. A private company can surely bank a lot of money with initial investment of a few billion dollars.

    I liked the idea of putting a casing around the HST to get it back. A capsule along with two rockets on opposite side can be thought of as a method to get it back.

    Who knows, once back to earth, engineers can work on it and make it error-free and upgrade it and place it back in the space with 20-30 years of age. I think, it is very much possible.

  8. Shaula Brant says

    I had always envisioned having the Hubble boosted into a much greater orbit so it would never fall back to Earth. I thought maybe even boosting it to one of the Earth – Moon Lagrange points (L4 – L5) to eternally exist there as a display of one of mankind’s achievements.

    Attach an ion thruster and a bit of time…it could work.

  9. BadGuy1981 says

    Wow, just imagine! To be able to check out the HST! That would be awesome! But i also think that boosting it to a lagrange point would be great, there we could make repairs and keep it in service! Now that i think of it, why don’t we have a bigger and better ST in orbit yet? The scientific value is massive!

  10. Jesper says

    Interesting, I’m looking forward to the Hubble picture of the hugging galaxies.

    I recently read the the field of view of Hubble is comparable to the size of a grain of salt at arms length!

  11. ND says

    Oils,

    Galaxy can collide in an expanding universe and it’s not an issue. You’ll find plenty of literature on it on the web. Please read up. There isn’t anything else to say about it.

  12. ND says

    I would love to see Hubble brought back to Earth. I’ve seen the full sized model at the smithsonian and it’s no small beast.

    Crazy idea. I wonder if the shuttle can be refitted to be flown to the Hubble unmanned and bring it back. Nasa is very risk averse now to manned missions to the Hubble. But the shuttle is an existing craft that can bring back the hubble.
    Would be an interesting engineering challenge and fine last mission for a space shuttle.

    I’d also love to see a constellation of space telescopes down the road. One Hubble wasn’t enough 🙂 But that’s just my opinion.

  13. huygens says

    Looks like somebody needs a cosmic hug!

  14. ND says

    And what cute little galaxies they are.

  15. Zibit says

    At first I thought yeah thats a great idea lets bring the Hubble back to earth. But then I started thinking.. Which missions would be canceled if NASA did that?

    Its not worth losing missions over. Private company sure, but that will never happen.

    So long Hubble, you’ve been great!

  16. ND says

    Zibit,

    In that case parking it at a higher orbit or at an L-point might be worth it. It might be brought back in a future date.

  17. Mr. Obvious says

    It isn’t pheasible for the space shuttle to bring back Hubble. It isn’t designed to “close” things up, so it would have to be manually disassembled. Also, it is too heavy. The shuttle can launch with a ‘relatively’ heavy payload, but it cannot land with one; so it would take more than one mission.

    Sending the Shuttle out to a L point isn’t likely either. It doesn’t have a propulsion system to send it there. Also, the hubble wasn’t shielded enough to take on the extra bad things (like harsh radiation) it would be subjected to out there.

  18. ND says

    I’ve wondered about the landing gears on the shuttle and the weight they could take on. But if I remember right they have brought back a satellite. I could be wrong, I’ll need to check.

    Imagine the museum piece the Hubble would make tho.

    I’m assuming the Hubble would not be operating at all while at an L-point, just parked there if a future generation wants to bring it back.

  19. Mr. Obvious says

    It can bring back a small payload… but nothing as large as Hubble. It’s barely a flying brick operating at its empty weight.
    Has nothing to do with the strength of the gear. The more weight you add to it, the less it will glide, and the more it will fall.

  20. huygens says

    The Space Shuttle brought back LDEF and that was no minor piece of equipment.

  21. Mr. Obvious says

    Wait a minute….
    The all knowing OillsMas doesn’t understand how gravity can keep things together in an expanding universe? …and how it has nothing to do with the other forces?

    I am so shocked…. NOT!

  22. ND says

    Ah yes. Shuttle + heavy payload + gravity = bad idea 🙂

  23. Mr. Obvious says

    Actually, let me take it back. Looks like the Hubble does fall “barely” within landing limits of the Shuttle, at least as originally engineered. May be different now that they have aged.
    Would still have to fall within balance issues… which I’m not sure about.

    LDEF weigned less than 9000kg, Hubble is around 12000kg

  24. ND,

    LOL. Your logical argument is “read a book?”

    Hilarious.

    You need to read Halton Arp because you’re obviously ignorant.

    Mr. Obvious.

    It’s obvious you have no logical or scientific contribution to make.

  25. Olaf says

    Mr. Obvious – “Wait a minute….
    The all knowing OillsMas doesn’t understand how gravity can keep things together in an expanding universe? …and how it has nothing to do with the other forces?”

    I agree wierd he?
    He is still confusing scales, the scale of the universe is very big compared to the scale of a galaxy or the scale of the solar system.

    All he needs to do is take out a calculator and put in some numbers to get an idea of scale. But he doesn’t want that.

  26. Olaf says

    OillsMas , some numbers:

    Basically the expansion of the universe is like this: 70.8 ± 4.0 (km/s)/Mpc

    Note The Mpc, that is MEGA! Parces = 3,262,000 lightyears.

    Our Milky way is about 100.000 lightyears, so you would need about 32 Milky-ways aligned next to each other to actually have a 70.8 Km/s expansion rate!

    Our sun is flying at a speed of 220 Km/s around the center of the Milky-way! That is 3 times faster than the expansion rate of the 1 Mpc!

    If you see those numbers, do you still do not understand that we think you are wierd in not understanding gravity and expansion?

  27. Olaf,

    “Basically the expansion of the universe is like this: 70.8 ± 4.0 (km/s)/Mpc”

    How did you observe and measure that?

  28. Yael Dragwyla says

    Shaula — I think the idea of boosting the Hubble Space Telescope into a much higher orbit, or even into one of the Lagrange Points, in order to preserve it is a wonderful idea. If we ever build a space tether on the Moon, we could even tow it over there and let it down to the lunar surface and take it inside, into a base dome there, so that future generations could go in and see and even touch it. The HST has opened up the universe to us as nothing before it ever did. We can’t just let it die — this is one of our mechanical/electronic children, and we need to take good care of it. Ditto the Martian rovers — why couldn’t the first colonies on Mars collect them and take them inside and keep them safe, so future generations could appreciate them? A wonderful incentive for manned space travel and exploration. 😀

  29. Salacious B. Crumb says

    OilIsMastery said:
    ” Olaf, “Basically the expansion of the universe is like this: 70.8 ± 4.0 (km/s)/Mpc”
    How did you observe and measure that?”

    Let’s see, what is you alternative view;
    How far do you think these galaxy are from us?
    Do the laws of physics apply there as they do here?
    Are these objects real or an illusion?
    What is the mass of these galaxies?

    Probably measured it with a police speed camera perhaps?
    Got out a ruler and worked it out on a piece of paper?

    I really think he just contacted his local astronomical occultist, who look it up in a book or something, conjured a spell, moved a magic wand. and poof! (with in smoke and flame), the number just came to him out of the air !”
    How about instead; we use 1200.1, 42.3, 11.256, pi to a thousand places. price of a loaf of bread?
    What is the name of your own astronomical occultist, eh? Is he listed in the telephone book?
    I think at least Olaf hasn’t sold his soul to the devil so he could get some much need attention from those who don’t play with him anymore.
    I starting to think you were neglected as a child, eh?
    Child abuse – it is a terrible crime, isn’t it?

    So, how far do YOU think these galaxy are from us?
    Do the laws of physics apply there as they do here?
    Are these objects real or an illusion, too?

  30. Salacious,

    Let us wait to see what Olaf’s response is before we start speculating and jumping to conclusions. Prejudice has no place in science.

  31. ND says

    Oils,

    I didn’t realize you were talking about the galaxies in this UT post in you second entry:

    “How can gravitation, which is the weakest force in the entire universe, counteract redshifts of over 7400 km/sec?

    P.S.: This is yet another system where the redshifts of the objects show them to be at drastically different distances, but they are in obvious contact. RV for the three components are – A 7483kps, B 8654kps and C 7618kps.”

    Which one is A B and C in the picture? And doesn’t 7400 km/sec refer to the velocity between us and the ARP 274 and not between the two galaxies? The gravity interaction is between those two galaxies acording to the UT article. So your comment about gravity overcoming 7400 km/s does not appear to make sense at first glance.

  32. ND says

    Oils,

    As for reading, you really need to read up on what we currently know about gravity. You have some very odd understandings about gravity, specially what you think scientists know about gravity.

  33. ND,

    By conventional theory A and C are fairly close, but B should be a background object, anywhere from 17 to 23 Mpc in the background. This is the distance from us to the main Virgo cluster, so how is there interaction?

    As far as reading up on gravitation, allow me to quote it’s inventor since you seem either unable or afraid to.

    “…lest the systems of the fixed stars should, by their gravity, fall on each other, he [God] hath placed those systems at immense distances from one another.” — Isaac Newton, mathematician, 1687

    Odd understanding indeed.

    In fact, “occult” was Leibniz’s accurate description.

  34. “…to establish it [gravitation] as original or primitive in certain parts of matter is to resort either to miracle or an imaginary occult quality.” — Gottfreid W. Leibniz, polymath, July 1710

  35. So which is it? Miracle or an imaginary occult quality?

  36. ND says

    Oils,

    So if A and B are the two spiral galaxies we see in the images, then have you considered the possibility that the difference in the speeds as measured by redshift could be because they’re interacting, ie they’re falling towards each other. In which case they would have different speeds (different redshifts).

    BTW, I’d like to know what your source is for the redshifts. And which one is object C! Do you know?

    As for quotes, it’s been pointed out to you that quotes are meaningless, specially on scientific concepts from several centuries ago! In that Newton quote, he seems to be talking about the origins of stars and not gravitation being a godly force. Which kinda makes sense since they had no concept of what the stars are made of and thus could not conjecture who they were formed. There was much they did not know about the objects in the sky. They had just begun to realize how they moved around each other for goodness sakes!

    We’ve learned so much since Newton and Leibniz.

    I mean WTF?! You think that according to gravity, the moon cannot be in orbit around the Earth and should be falling on top of us. Where do get these ideas?

  37. Emission Nebula says

    Dear Everyone,

    Please stop feeding the trolls. They will do nothing but blabber about their misguided views and beliefs.

    EN

  38. huygens says

    Sell Hubble to the Chinese or Indians.

    I am sure they won’t waste such a golden opportunity.

  39. ND,

    “We’ve learned so much since Newton and Leibniz.”

    So why are you married to Newton’s occult 17th century theory of gravitation?

    “Where do get these ideas?”

    I suggest you actually read Issac Newton’s Principia so you comment intelligently on the theory of gravitation.

  40. ND says

    Oils,

    What are your sources for the Arp 274 redshifts?

  41. Are you disputing their validity?

  42. ND says

    I can’t just consider their validity based on what you post. I need the original source of information. I’d appreciate it if you posted the source.

    I’ll also search up information on Arp 274 myself when I get home later tonight.

  43. Astrofiend says

    “# OilIsMastery Says:
    March 4th, 2009 at 11:58 am

    “I suggest you actually read Issac Newton’s Principia so you comment intelligently on the theory of gravitation.”

    Oh, that’s gold coming from you Oils. Here’s the man who, in a previous post on the subject about a month ago, had no less than about 5 howling misconceptions about gravity in pretty much as many sentences.

    And you’re quoting Leibnitz as some sort of ‘proof’ against the modern theory of gravity? As in Leibnitz from the 1700’s? Good one mate. I may as well dispute the heliocentric model of the solar system by quoting the Old Testament:

    “He has fixed the earth firm, immovable.” (1 Chronicles 16:30)”

    There, proof enough eh Oils?

    Feel free not to quote a more modern ‘scientist’ in reply.

  44. Astrofiend,

    You’re the one who believes in a 17th century creationist theory called gravitation.

    “…lest the systems of the fixed stars should, by their gravity, fall on each other, he [God] hath placed those systems at immense distances from one another.” — Isaac Newton, mathematician, 1687

  45. Sakib says

    I knew Arp 274 was going to be the “winner”, I voted for this one! I love Arps and Hubble is perfect for imaging them. It would sweet if it could image Arp 273, Arp 295 or NGC 7714 or NGC 2623.

  46. Bojan says

    @ OilsMastery

    Conveniently I’m studying for exams, involving gravitation and physics, but down have time to read a whole book.

    Could you give me a quick rundown of the alternate theory you have?

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