Rivers of Hydrogen Connect Clusters of Galaxies
This composite image contains three distinct features: the bright star-filled central region of galaxy NGC 6946 in optical light (blue), the dense hydrogen tracing out the galaxy’s sweeping spiral arms and galactic halo (orange), and the extremely diffuse and extended field of hydrogen engulfing NGC 6946 and its companions (red). The new GBT data show the faintly glowing hydrogen bridging the gulf between the larger galaxy and its smaller companions. This faint structure is precisely what astronomers expect to appear as hydrogen flows from the intergalactic medium into galaxies or from a past encounter between galaxies.
Telescope: 48-in Samuel Oschin Telescope; GBT; WSRT
Band: B; L; L
Date: 2013-03-24T21:40:08-04:00; 2009-05-09T00:00:00.0; 2002-04-04T00:00:00.0
Center: RA: 20:34:52.33, Dec: 60:09:13.24
Field of View: 85.91 x 85.91 arcminutes