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Dark Galaxies
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Dark Galaxies

July 15, 2012
This deep image shows the region of the sky around the quasar HE0109-3518. The quasar is near the center of the image. The energetic radiation of the quasar makes dark galaxies glow, helping astronomers to understand the obscure early stages of galaxy formation. Dark galaxies are essentially devoid of stars, therefore they don’t emit any light that telescopes can catch. This makes them virtually impossible to observe unless they are illuminated by an external light source like a background quasar.

This image combines observations from the Very Large Telescope, tuned to detect the fluorescent emissions produced by the quasar illuminating the dark galaxies, with color data from the Digitized Sky Survey 2.

Credit: ESO, Digitized Sky Survey 2 and S. Cantalupo (UCSC)


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