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NGC 7252: Hubble Captures Image of Atoms for Peace Galaxy

Dec 7, 2015 by Sergio Prostak

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced this beautiful image of the inner parts of the distant galaxy NGC 7252.

This image shows the central regions of the peculiar galaxy NGC 7252. Image credit: NASA / ESA / Hubble / Judy Schmidt, www.geckzilla.com.

This image shows the central regions of the peculiar galaxy NGC 7252. Image credit: NASA / ESA / Hubble / Judy Schmidt, http://www.geckzilla.com.

NGC 7252, also known as LEDA 68612 or Arp 226, is a 12.7 magnitude peculiar galaxy in the constellation Aquarius.

It is about 212 million light-years distant and almost 200,000 light years across.

The galaxy has an odd nickname. In December 1953, President Eisenhower gave a speech that was dubbed Atoms for Peace.

The theme was promoting nuclear power for peaceful purposes – a particularly hot topic at the time.

This speech and the associated conference made waves in the scientific community and beyond to such an extent that NGC 7252 was named the Atoms for Peace galaxy.

This nickname is quite ironic, as the galaxy’s past was anything but peaceful.

Its peculiar appearance is the result of a collision between two similar gas-rich disc galaxies that took place about 600 million years ago, which ripped both galaxies apart.

The loop-like outer structures, likely made up of dust and stars flung outwards by the crash, but recalling orbiting electrons in an atom, are partly responsible for the galaxy’s nickname.

 

 

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