ESO 306-17 - The Bully Galaxy That Rules The Neighborhood

Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 11:56 in Astronomy & Space

Gravity brings galaxies together and bigger ones swallow smaller ones. ESO 306-17 is a large, bright elliptical galaxy, located half a billion light-years from Earth, and astronomers say their is evidence that the isolated galaxy has gobbled up its next-door neighbors.  ESO 306-17 and other fossil groups may be the most extreme examples of galaxy cannibalism, ravenous systems that don't stop until they've devoured all of their neighbors. It appears that ESO 306-17 is surrounded by other galaxies, but the bright galaxies at bottom left are thought to be in the foreground, not at the same distance in the sky. In reality, ESO 306-17 lies fairly abandoned in an enormous sea of dark matter and hot gas. read more

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