29 August 2013

Colliding galaxies

What will become of these galaxies? Spiral galaxies NGC 5426 and NGC 5427 are passing dangerously close to each other, but each is likely to survive this collision. Typically when galaxies collide, a large galaxy eats a much smaller galaxy. In this case, however, the two galaxies are quite similar, each being a sprawling spiral with expansive arms and a compact core. As the galaxies advance over the next tens of millions of years, their component stars are unlikely to collide, although new stars will form in the bunching of gas caused by gravitational tides... Recent predictions hold that our Milky Way Galaxy will undergo a similar collision with the neighboring Andromeda Galaxy in a few billion years
Text and image from NASA's Astronomy Photo of the Day.


  1. I better start prepping!

  2. That is stunning! I love how it looks as though streams of gas are connecting the two.

    1. At APOD it says they ARE connected:

      "Close inspection of the above image taken by the 8-meter Gemini-South Telescope in Chile shows a bridge of material momentarily connecting the two giants"

      (note that the "gas" consists of tens of thousands of suns...) It boggles the mind.

  3. I have heard that the Milky Way Galaxy is currently colliding with another, much smaller galaxy. Where I heard that, and if it's true, I cannot say, but still.....

  4. Great. Something else to worry about.
    But seriously, when APOD says the two are "momentarily" connected, can we assume that they mean that on a galactic timescale, rather than an earthly one?


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