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Chandra Science Highlight
Stephan’s Quintet: A Compact Group of Galaxies about 280 Million
Light Years from Earth
Chandra X-ray Observatory ACIS Image.
The X-ray image shows gas heated by a shock wave
produced by a spiral galaxy (B) moving through the
intergalactic gas in the group at more than 1000 km/s.
The relatively low gas temperature of 6 MK could be
an indication that the intergalactic gas was preheated,
presumably by previous encounters.
In Stephan’s Quintet collisions of the galaxies with
each other and with the hot gas are stripping cool gas
from spiral galaxies and transforming them into
elliptical galaxies.
Reference: G. Trinchieri et al. 2003 Astron. & Astrophys. (in
press) astro-ph 0302590
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/INAF-Brera/G.Trinchieri et al.;
Optical: Pal.Obs. STScI DSS)
In the upper left a Chandra X-ray Observatory image (blue)
is superimposed on a Digitized Sky Survey optical image
(yellow). The group consists of the galaxies A, B, C, D and
E shown in the wide field optical image. The largeappearing galaxy F in the lower left of this image is a
foreground galaxy, and is not part of the group.
CXC operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
May 2003