A team of International Astronomers used the MeerKAT telescope and has identified wide-spread tidal Debris in a nearby galaxy group known as NGC 7232. The newly found structure is composed of cold neutral atomic hydrogen and extends over 450,000 light-years. The finding is reported in a paper published on May 21.
The new Studies show that signatures of interaction between galaxies are seen in the form of, for instance, the length and shape of tidal tails, bridges and other Debris. When two galaxies orbit each other, tidal forces alter each galaxy, and these deformed regions are then expelled into intergalactic space, forming tidal tails.
The observations detected extended Debris of cold neutral atomic hydrogen around the core triplet galaxies in NGC 7232 known as NGC 7232/3. The newly found streams extend over 20 arcminutes, or approximately 456,000 light-years, which is around three times the neutral atomic hydrogen extent of the galaxy triplet. The study also found that within NGC 7232/3, NGC 7233 and NGC 7232 have lost a crucial amount of atomic hydrogen, while NGC 7232B appears to have an excess of this gas. They reported that the NGC 7232/3 galaxy triplet is not HI deficient.The researchers wrote that based on the success of our MeerKAT-64 observations, they look forward to a much larger project mapping the star formation and HI gas distribution within nearby galaxy groups to assess their evolutionary state and formation history.