Hubble features ghostly galaxy for Halloween

AM 2026-424
This Hubble image of the merged galaxy known as AM 2026-424 was taken on June 19 in visible light by the Advanced Camera for Surveys. The system resides 704 million light-years from Earth. (NASA / ESA / UW / Dalcanton, Williams and Durbin)

Now here’s something really scary for Halloween: Imagine two galaxies slamming into each other and creating a monstrous wraith with ghostly glowing eyes.

It’s not that far of a stretch. The Hubble Space Telescope captured just such an image, for a team of astronomers based at the University of Washington.

The visible-light picture, taken in June by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys, shows a galactic smash-up that took place about 700 million light-years away in the constellation Microscopium. The cosmic collision is known as Arp-Madore 2026-424 or AM 2026-424, because it’s noted that way in the Arp-Madore Catalogue of Southern Peculiar Galaxies and Associations.

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Carve a scientist into your Halloween pumpkin

Physicist pumpkins
Symmetry magazine’s pumpkin designs include Paul Dirac-ula, Mummy Noether, Albert Frank-Einstein, Werewolfgang Pauli and Scary Curie. (Photo for Symmetry by Reidar Hahn, Fermilab with Sandbox Studios)

Albert Frank-Einstein? Scary Curie? You’ve got to hand it to the folks at Symmetry magazine: Those science geeks really know how to throw a Halloween party. Or a Christmas party. Or a Valentine’s Day soiree. Their latest holiday tribute to scientific greats takes the form of pumpkin-carving patterns that will impress trick-or-treaters even if they don’t know a thing about Werewolfgang Pauli’s Exclusion Principle.

In addition to Einstein, Curie and Pauli, Symmetry provides templates to make your jack-o’-lanterns look like Paul Dirac-ula (with batty positrons flying in the background) or Mummy Noether (featuring the famous mathematician under wraps).

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