Sunday, April 27, 2008

Colliding galaxies

On April 24, 2008, the Hubble Space Telescope marked the 18th anniversary of its launch. In celebration of this event, the HubbleSite released 59 fantastic images of galaxies colliding. These three are just samples of the awe-inspiring photographs on the site. And as you're looking at the images, remember that all these collisions happened hundreds of millions of years ago because that's how long it took the light from them to reach us. Hie yourself over to the article Cosmic Collisions Galore! and get your mind blown away.

This peculiar, butterfly- or lobster-shaped galaxy consisting of two smaller merging galaxies lies in the constellation of Ophiuchus, the Serpent Holder, some 400 million light-years away. It has two giant black holes—about 3,000 light-years apart—which are drifting towards each another and will eventually merge into a larger black hole. The merging process, which began about 30 million years ago, will be complete in some tens to hundreds of millions of years.
galaxies colliding in the Ophiuchus constellation
This is the staggering aftermath of an encounter between two galaxies, resulting in a ring-shaped galaxy and a long-tailed companion. It is located in the constellation of Ursa Major, the Great Bear, approximately 500 million light-years away.
galaxies colliding in the Ursa Major constellation
A remarkable collision between two spiral galaxies located in the constellation of Hercules. The galaxy cluster is part of the Great Wall of clusters and superclusters, the largest known structure in the universe. The two spiral galaxies are linked by their swirling arms, and is located some 450 million light-years away from Earth.
galaxies colliding in the Hercules constellation

All text and images from the article Cosmic Collisions Galore!

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