From IAC: “Grupo de galaxias Hickson 90”


Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias – IAC

Manu Garcia

Scanning the skies of galaxies, the Canadian astronomer Paul Hickson and his colleagues identified about 100 groups of galaxies, now properly so-called groups hickson compact (Hcgs). This Hubble image shows a group of galaxies like these, HCG 90, in a surprising detail. Three galaxies – two visible here – are revealed for interacting heavily: a spiral galaxy dusty stretched and distorted in the center of the image, and two large elliptical galaxies. The close encounter will provoke an angry star formation. On a scale of cosmic time, the gravitational pull of war eventually result in the merger of the trio in a huge galaxy only. The melting process it is now understood as a normal part of the evolution of galaxies, including our own milky way. HCG 90 is approximately 100 million light-years away toward the constellation of the southern fish (Pisces Austrinus). This vision of hubble spans some 40.000 light-years estimated at that distance. Of course, groups allow hickson compact also reward the vision of astronomers linked to earth with telescopes of more modest size.


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The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias(IAC) is an international research centre in Spain which comprises:

The Instituto de Astrofísica, the headquarters, which is in La Laguna (Tenerife).
The Centro de Astrofísica en La Palma (CALP)
The Observatorio del Teide (OT), in Izaña (Tenerife).
The Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM), in Garafía (La Palma).

These centres, with all the facilities they bring together, make up the European Northern Observatory(ENO).

The IAC is constituted administratively as a Public Consortium, created by statute in 1982, with involvement from the Spanish Government, the Government of the Canary Islands, the University of La Laguna and Spain’s Science Research Council (CSIC).

The International Scientific Committee (CCI) manages participation in the observatories by institutions from other countries. A Time Allocation Committee (CAT) allocates the observing time reserved for Spain at the telescopes in the IAC’s observatories.

The exceptional quality of the sky over the Canaries for astronomical observations is protected by law. The IAC’s Sky Quality Protection Office (OTPC) regulates the application of the law and its Sky Quality Group continuously monitors the parameters that define observing quality at the IAC Observatories.

The IAC’s research programme includes astrophysical research and technological development projects.

The IAC is also involved in researcher training, university teaching and outreachactivities.

The IAC has devoted much energy to developing technology for the design and construction of a large 10.4 metre diameter telescope, the ( Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC), which is sited at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos.

Gran Telescopio Canarias at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, in the Canaries, SpainGran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC