Thursday, December 10, 2015

Galaxies Dance to the Death

This image  from the Hubble Space Telescope was so striking, I could not resist sharing it with you.

These two galaxies (NGC 3808A on the right and NGC 3808B on the left) are distorted ("peculiar") by the massive gravitational tides of a near encounter. The one on the right shows areas of new star formation as a result. Eventually, they will merge into a single galaxy. The bridge between them is made up of gas, dust, and stars.

I wonder what the night sky looks like from a planet in either one -- delicious fodder for a science fiction story! Or a fantasy? What will the two galaxies look like in a billion years? Computer modeling can give us a fascinating peek. Meanwhile, (thank you yet again, Hubble!) we get to enjoy this beautiful, dramatic image.

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