Christopher C. Hayward


Simulation of a "Mega Galaxy Merger"

I was asked to provide a movie of one of my galaxy merger simulations to accompany the press release for the Fu et al. (2013) Nature article, which reports the discovery of an ongoing major galaxy merger at z = 2.3 (~11 billion years ago) that is sufficiently massive to form the massive elliptical galaxies observed at z ~ 2. The movie, which was produced by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, shows the evolution of a major merger for two different types of observations: 3-color composite images of ultraviolet through optical light, which reflect the emission from stars and AGN attenuated by dust, and monochromatic observed-frame submm images, which show emission from dust. Comparison of the emission in the two different wavelength regimes demonstrates how the merging galaxies can appear markedly different when observed at different wavelengths because of the different physical properties traced.

The movie appeared on the JPL YouTube channel (see below) and currently has more than 31,000 views. Furthermore, it was featured on many online news sites, including the Huffington Post, Huffington Post UK, UK Daily Mail, The Week UK, Voice of America, and, and the front page of the Orange County Register.

All material is copyright Christopher C. Hayward, 2013, and may not be reproduced without permission. Last updated: 3 September 2013