Astronomers Find A Puzzling Pair Of Merging Galaxies

In an article, published on called “Astronomers find a puzzling pair of merging galaxies” by Alison Kiesman fits exactly well with our 16th conceptual objective on the ability to compare the Milky Way Galaxy to other galaxies. To start, off the article begins to give us some brief information on what are galaxy mergers. The article says “Mergers are responsible for transforming the numerous small galaxies that existed early in cosmic history into the massive galaxies we see today” (Kiesman). Furthermore, the article tells us these merging galaxies take over 2 billion years to complete. So, astronomers have to take snapshots of other galaxies in many types of the stage of merging to get better information on them. Next, the article begins to talk about a galaxy called Was 49 that is a part of the merging galaxy cycle and is 26,000 ly from the center towards the edge of the galaxy. The two merging galaxies were Was 49a and 49b. Was 49a was a large disk-shaped galaxy while, 49b was a small dwarf galaxy. The article begins to talk about how Was 49b is carrying a super large black hole. To conclude, the article talks about how two merging galaxies and merge into their black holes and the articles tells us that this they are trying to figure out if the black was already that huge or it began to get bigger when the galaxies started to merge.

This article perfectly correlates with our 16th conceptual objective because of the information that was learned through our lectured-tutorial and class discussions. We learned in our lectured-tutorial called “Galaxy Classification” that we can compare galaxies by the age of stars, the presence or absence of dust or gas or star formation. In our class discussions we found out that there are three different types of galaxies the spiral galaxy, irregular galaxy, and the elliptical galaxy. In, the article we learned that Was 49a is a large disk galaxy. This can be very much compared to the Milky Way in that Milky Way is a spiral galaxy with a large disk shape giving out its spiral arms. Also, we can compare that the galaxies have a 26,000 ly from the center towards the edge of the galaxy. While, the Milky Way galaxy has a 50,000 ly from the center towards the edge of the galaxy. Another, thing the article talks about is the amount of dust that is found in both the 49a and 49b galaxy. The milky way holds tons of dust in our galaxy just like 49a and 49b. The differences is that the 49b galaxy has a super massive black hole as the Milky Way galaxy currently doesn’t posses a black hold. Another, difference is these galaxies are currently merging and not single sided galaxy. The only thing the article lacks in the detail about these galaxies are star formations and the amount of gas present in Was 49a and Was 49b so, we are unable to compare towards the Milky Way galaxy in these areas.

To conclude, the article, lectured-tutorial, and our class discussions gave me a full understanding of the Milky Way and other types of galaxies. The article best suites to a general idea about how galaxies are able to merge and what other galaxies look like. It was also a very helpful idea to learn more about galaxies by comparing our galaxy toward very different galaxies. Overall, we all know our galaxy is a spec compared to the entire world. So, its always crazy to think about the amount of things that haven’t been discovered in space. Overall, I feel like a I know a ton of information about our galaxies and the many types of galaxies in the universe.



Jacob Ybarra.


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