Skip to main content

Galactic Cauldron | Space Wallpaper

NGC 5044 Galaxy Group
As galaxies speed through gigantic cauldrons, they occasionally jumble the gas and forge it into lop-sided shapes. An example is revealed in this space wallpaper, which is a composite image of the galaxy group NGC 5044. (Image credit: E. O’Sullivan and ESA)

As galaxies speed through gigantic cauldrons, they occasionally jumble the gas and forge it into lop-sided shapes. An example is revealed in this space wallpaper, which is a composite image of the galaxy group NGC 5044, the brightest group in X-rays in the entire sky. Galaxies are social beasts that are mostly found in groups or clusters — large assemblies of galaxies that are permeated by even larger amounts of diffuse gas. With temperatures of 10 million degrees or more, the gas in galaxy groups and clusters is hot enough to shine brightly in X-rays and be detected by ESA’s XMM-Newton X-ray observatory.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Space.com Staff

Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Kim Hickock as our Reference Editor and Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.