This collection of images shows gas swirling around the same galaxy in several different ways. Taken together, the columns create a time-lapse projection. The top row shows the density of gas in the galaxy at a given time: in these panels, the brightest areas show where gas is most densely concentrated. In the middle row, gas shoots out of the galaxy in the bright areas and plummets toward the center of galaxy in the darkest areas. The bottom row shows temperature: the brighter the area, the hotter the gas. Models like these help astrophysicists understand the chaotic, explosive, ever-changing lives of evolving galaxies.
This image was a finalist in the 2016 Northwestern Scientific Images contest. Learn more.
Credit: Zachary Hafen, CIERA/Northwestern University