Image of the Day: Ethereal Beauty of the “Ghost Stream”


The ethereal tidal streams of stars that surround galaxy NGC 5907 in arcing loops extend more than 150,000 light-years from the narrow, edge-on spiral, also known as the Splinter or Knife Edge Galaxy loacted 40 million light-years distant in the northern constellation Draco. The streams likely represent the ghostly trail of a dwarf galaxy — debris left along the orbit of a smaller satellite galaxy that was gradually torn apart and merged with NGC 5907 over four billion years ago. This remarkable image, from a small robotic observatory in New Mexico, supports the cosmological scenario in which large spiral galaxies, including our own Milky Way, were formed by the accumulation of smaller ones.

Image credit: Image Credit & Copyright:  R Jay Gabany (Blackbird Observatory)


"The Galaxy" in Your Inbox, Free, Daily