We identify four rare "jellyfish" galaxies in Hubble Space Telescope imagery of the major merger cluster Abell 2744. These galaxies harbor trails of star-forming knots and filaments which have formed in situ in gas tails stripped from the parent galaxies, indicating they are in the process of being transformed by the environment. Further evidence for rapid transformation in these galaxies comes from their optical spectra, which reveal starburst, poststarburst, and active galactic nucleus features. Most intriguingly, three of the jellyfish galaxies lie near intracluster medium features associated with a merging "Bullet-like" subcluster and its shock front detected in Chandra X-ray images. We suggest that the high-pressure merger environment may be responsible for the star formation in the gaseous tails. This provides observational evidence for the rapid transformation of galaxies during the violent core passage phase of a major cluster merger.
- galaxies: clusters: individual (Abell 2744)
- X-rays: galaxies: clusters