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NGC 1316: After Galaxies Collide

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NGC 1316: After Galaxies Collide

How did this strange-looking galaxy form?

Astronomers turn detectives when trying to
figure out the cause of unusual jumbles of stars, gas, and
dust like
NGC 1316.

A preliminary inspection indicates that
NGC 1316 is an enormous
elliptical galaxy
that includes dark dust lanes usually found in a spiral.

The above image taken by the
Hubble Space Telescope
shows details, however, that help in
reconstructing the history of this gigantic jumble.

Close inspection finds fewer low mass
globular clusters
of stars toward NGC 1316's center.

Such an effect is expected in galaxies that have undergone
collisions or
merging with other galaxies in the past few billion years.

After such collisions, many
star clusters would be
destroyed in the dense galactic center.

The dark knots and lanes of dust
indicate that one or more of the devoured galaxies were
spiral galaxies.

NGC 1316
spans about 60,000 light years and lies about 75 million
light years away toward the constellation of the Furnace.

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