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Lower-energy X-ray image
(Credit: NASA/Ohio U./
T.Statler et al.)

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NGC 1700:
Giant X-Ray Disk Sheds Light On Galactic Merger

NGC 1700
Credit: NASA/Ohio U./T.Statler et al.

The Chandra image of the elliptical galaxy NGC 1700 shows a flattened oval of multi-million degree gas, supporting the idea that it is the result of a merger of two smaller galaxies about 3 billion years ago. To the lower right, another version of the Chandra image shows only the low-energy X-rays and reveals a giant inner disk. This disk of 6-million degree gas appears light blue in the multicolor image above.

The disk is 90,000 light years in diameter - roughly two-thirds the diameter of the Milky Way Galaxy - making it the largest disk of hot gas known. Analysis of the structure of the disk shows that it is rotating and appears to be cooling. The existence of a large, rotating disk of hot gas suggests that NGC 1700 was created by the merger of a rotating spiral galaxy and an elliptical galaxy containing hot gas.

Fast Facts for NGC 1700:
Credit  NASA/Ohio U./T.Statler et al.
Scale  Image is 3.9 arcmin per side.
Category  Normal Galaxies & Starburst Galaxies
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 04h 56m 56.30s | Dec -04° 51' 52.00"
Constellation  Eridanus
Observation Dates  November 3, 2000
Observation Time  12 hours
Obs. IDs  2069
Color Code  Energy: Blue (low), Red (high)
Instrument  ACIS
Distance Estimate  About 160 million light years
Release Date  December 18, 2002