The Cartwheel Galaxy

Cartwheel galaxy v1source: The Cartwheel Galaxy: A Starry Ring World Born in a Head-On Collision


He is hibernating in the cold,

putting on his coat, and drawing on long socks, he is ready to face the night;

donning a cap and silk navy scarf, he exits the first door,

circling down the steps, each footstep sending the dust across and echoing down the scales, the rats scurry aside.


Stretching his arms, he reaches for the next door,

They had a tape on him since yesterday;

It was such a light touch that he hardly notices, yet he knows the have a record on him,

Something he never planned would happen.


They are interested in him – his muscles, bones and silk,

For some reason he felt this was going to be a long journey;

They are putting him on a mission because they know he can lead the way,

They have not sent anyone else except him.


From growing down the steps, he has now reached the sewers and will be exiting into the fields,

The path is not really important, rather what he will do matters more;

They want to see how far he can go,

They want to know where he will lead them…..


As he picks up space, he sees the tether like a flowering river behind him,

An exciting breathe of fresh air as he sees the landscape changing;

swarms are above him and he feels all the mirrors and shadows above and beyond him,

breaking the rules, he starts to run freely.


They have lost him, now they are searching for him,

He has no boundaries, he is drawn to the magnetic force;

Going somewhere people have never been,

Jumping off the mountainous cliff, floating across the clouds and constantly running through streams.


Historically, this would have been impossible, but not with him,

Time does not stop him, he has a high metabolic rate;

He detects the motions of the stars, wind,

Moving with the source, gliding through the Universe he enters a different realm.


Cross the Universe, the perception of him has disappeared and now he is a different form,

Thinking through what time did he travel through;

He started thinking of the last conversation he had,

The last time he hibernated.


A different perception of where he is now,

Is this real?

Am I feeling cold anymore?

What’s happened?


He no longer senses the cold, the dimensions or heat,

He feels immune and starts using his fingers to feel and sense his new environment;

How long have I been here?

Where will I go?

Challenging his mission,

He started going up and out.


Like invisible carrots drawing a rabbit from his hole,

He started looking around his environment with a new pair of eyes;

Clocks and times no longer count,

Time has been suspended and so has sound.

By cross the Universe, he has entered a new dimension,

seeds are like cells, sensing his presence in multiverse;

almost at the intersection of checkmate, he saw an opening.


Deep in space, he is in a trance,

facing the present and the past at the same time;

The light is coming towards him and leaving him at the same time,

He senses everything, he feels the multiple dimensions and sees light been transferred in and out above him.


Flowing from one dimension to another,

He’s floating sensing others below and above him;

Sensing his third eye, he sees with his sensors and lens,

light, colour , motion, perception….


Each one has a purpose, from where he’s at – this is perfect,

A perfect Galaxy;

Born on a starry night.



by Helen Tung

Founder & Convenor, NewSpace2060 International Moon Pitch Competition

In celebration of UNISPACE50+
As part of ISU-SSP18 Humanities Department ‘Deep Space and Life’s Energy’ Project



About the Image:

[Right] – A rare and spectacular head-on collision between two galaxies appears in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope true-color image of the Cartwheel Galaxy, located 500 million light-years away in the constellation Sculptor. The new details of star birth resolved by Hubble provide an opportunity to study how extremely massive stars are born in large fragmented gas clouds.

The striking ring-like feature is a direct result of a smaller intruder galaxy – possibly one of two objects to the right of the ring – that careened through the core of the host galaxy. Like a rock tossed into a lake, the collision sent a ripple of energy into space, plowing gas and dust in front of it. Expanding at 200,000 miles per hour, this cosmic tsunami leaves in its wake a firestorm of new star creation. Hubble resolves bright blue knots that are gigantic clusters of newborn stars and immense loops and bubbles blown into space by exploding stars (supernovae) going off like a string of firecrackers.

The Cartwheel Galaxy presumably was a normal spiral galaxy like our Milky Way before the collision. This spiral structure is beginning to re-emerge, as seen in the faint arms or spokes between the outer ring and bulls-eye shaped nucleus. The ring contains at least several billion new stars that would not normally have been created in such a short time span and is so large (150,000 light-years across) our entire Milky Way Galaxy would fit inside.

Hubble’s new view does not solve the mystery as to which of the two small galaxies might have been the intruder. The blue galaxy is disrupted and has new star formation which strongly suggests it is the interloper. However, the smoother-looking companion has no gas, which is consistent with the idea that gas was stripped out of it during passage through the Cartwheel Galaxy.

[Top Left] – Hubble’s detailed view shows the knot-like structure of the ring, produced by large clusters of new star formation. Hubble also resolves the effects of thousands of supernovae on the ring structure. One flurry of explosions blew a hole in the ring and formed a giant bubble of hot gas. Secondary star formation on the edge of this bubble appears as an arc extending beyond the ring.

[Bottom Left] – Hubble resolves remarkable new detail in the galaxy’s core. The reddish color of this region indicates that it contains a tremendous amount of dust and embedded star formation. Bright pinpoints of light are gigantic young star clusters.

The picture was taken with the Wide Field Planetary Camera-2 on October 16, 1994. It is a combination of two images, taken in blue and near-infrared light.