Image credit: ESA / NASA / STScI / Hubble Space Telescope.
This Hubble image displays a beautiful pair of interacting spiral galaxies with swirling arms. The smaller of the two, dubbed LEDA 62867 and positioned to the left of the frame, seems to be safe for now, but will probably be swallowed by the larger spiral galaxy, NGC 6786 (to the right), eventually. There is already some disturbance visible in both components. The pair is number 538 in Karachentsev's Catalogue of Pairs of Galaxies. A supernova was seen to explode in the large spiral in 2004. NGC 6786 is located in the constellation of Draco, the Dragon, about 350 million light-years away. This image is part of a large collection of 59 images of merging galaxies taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and released on the occasion of its 18th anniversary on 24th April 2008.
“Since the beginning of physics, symmetry considerations have provided us with an extremely powerful and useful tool in our effort to understand nature. Gradually they have become the backbone of our theoretical formulation of physical laws.” -Tsung-Dao Lee
We normally think of the Universe as being symmetric, in the sense that no one direction, location or configuration is inherently preferred over another. But at some level, the laws of physics aren’t completely symmetric, as we see from the decays of certain elementary particles.
Image credit: author durbarsquare of http://readingpenrose.com/2014/05/07/on-cpt-symmetry-and-time-reversal-i/.
Could it be possible, then, that even the spiral galaxies in the Universe have a preferred direction? That perhaps the Universe was born with an intrinsic preference for the direction of rotation, and that would be imprinted in the galaxies today?
Image credit: SDSS.
There’s some evidence for it, but is it enough to convince you? Get the facts and decide for yourself!