WOW Merger

https://www.legacysurvey.org//viewer/?ra=20.9797&dec=2.0710&layer=hsc-dr3&zoom=14

Notice the circular ring of stars behind the galaxies

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A Serial 4-Way

There is a lot going on here. Here is my tentative understanding of the story.

Although there is movement in the X & Y dimensions, this is primarily a Z axis story
The 4 objects, in order of start of movement:

A) The slender stellar trail at top center marks the path taken by a massive runaway core/core fragment (maybe a nucleus) from the moment it was attracted by the edge-on which was at rest in the relative foreground at top left. It swung forward and sped out of the background. Its momentum took it right past the sitting edge-on.

B) The big edge-on was attracted to the speeding mass and jumped forward, leaving the inertial imprint* we see at the root of its trail. Its hard acceleration left a broad and thick stellar & dusty trail as it raced to meet the core body… which was long gone by the time it got there.

A went far to the left of B’s location and had to swing around and forward to join B’s path. A & B came together at the point where B’s thick acceleration trail* ends and the thinner erosion or resistance trail* begins. A is still mostly intact glowing white at the near edge of B.

C) The wide trail coming forward on the right side shows the path C has taken to join the party. It is interacting strongly with B/A as can be seen by the broad bridge connecting them.

D) In the background, above and right of C a fourth galaxy wants to join the party.

*inertial imprint, acceleration trail, centrifugal trail, and erosion or resistance trail are terms I have coined to name specific and identifiable stellar trail types.

They all identify trails that clearly show Newtonian motion law caused trail traits.

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Could the galaxy be a Jellyfish Galaxy? Like a Portuguese man of war?

unlikely. material was likely stripped by interaction/tidally

Home to a small galaxy cluster.


There is a jellyfish associated with this cluster
image
and another beginning of merger

Down below is the rest of the cluster,