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Hubble Watches Cataclysmic Cosmic Collision: IC 1623

( Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have captured an amazing new photo of the interacting galaxy system IC 1623.

IC 1623 is located some 274 million light-years away in the constellation of Cetus.

Also known as Arp 236, ESO 541-23 and IRAS 01053-1746, the galaxy pair was discovered on November 19, 1897 by the American astronomer Lewis Swift.

“This interacting pair of galaxies is a familiar sight,” Hubble astronomers said.

“Hubble captured IC 1623 in 2008 using two filters at optical and infrared wavelengths using the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS).”

“This new image incorporates new data from the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), and combines observations taken in eight filters spanning infrared to ultraviolet wavelengths to reveal the finer details of IC 1623.”

One of the two galaxies in the IC 1623 system has a substantial amount of warm and dense gas. Such gas is also found in the overlap region connecting the two nuclei.

The pair is approaching the final stage of its merger, when a violent central inflow of gas will trigger intense starburst activity that could boost the infrared luminosity above the ultra-luminous threshold.

“The two galaxies are in the final stages of merging, and we expect a powerful inflow of gas to ignite a frenzied burst of star formation in the resulting compact starburst galaxy,” the astronomers said.

“Future observations of the galaxy pair with the NASA/ESA/CASA James Webb Space Telescope will shed more light on the processes powering extreme star formation in environments such as IC 1623.”

According to

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