The Hubble Space Telescope has turned its sensitive gaze towards a peculiar galaxy designated as Arp-Madore 1054-325, in the constellation of hydra. The object is a part of the Arp-Madore catalogue of peculiar galaxies, compiled by American astronomers Halton Arp and Barry Madore. The image was captured as part of a campaign to investigate 12 galaxies with tidal tails, features formed through recent interactions or collissions with other galaxies. Astronomers have spotted 425 star clusters, associations of as many as a million stars. These star clusters contain energetic, young, blue stars, and were all found to be less than 10 million years old. Our own Sun for comparison, is 4.5 billion years old.
Galaxy collissions are violent events that cause considerable disruptions to the objects involved. However, the individual stars and star systems are not much affected because of the vast distances of interstellar space. The dynamics between two galaxies actually encourages star formation, by pushing and pulling the gas and dust, the raw material for star formation, into dense clumps, that can become protostars. The tidal tails consist of gas and dust that would have otherwise been intert mass within the host galaxies, with the interactions kick-starting and encouraging the process of star formation.
The star clusters formed can be of two varieties. Globular clusters are made up of stable associations of stars that can remain together for billions of years, forming a roughly spherical shape. Scientists suspect that lurking within the cores of these globular clusters are elusive intermediate mass black holes. Such black holes should exist in theory, bridging the gap between stellar mass black holes formed by the violent ends of stars, and supermassive black holes that lurk in the cores of galaxies. The stars may also end up in open clusters, that tend to drift apart over time. The fates of these clusters, open or closed, cannot be determined at this point.