April 21, 2011
It's Pretty Visually Interesting When Two Galaxies Collide
So, what does it look like when two galaxies collide? To celebrate its 21st anniversary, Nasa's orbiting Hubble telescope has snapped this stunning image of Arp 273: a photogenic group of interacting galaxies.
The largest spiral galaxy, UGC 1810, is skewed and distorted into a rose-like shape by the gravitational tug of its nearby companion galaxy, UGC 1813.
The twisted spaghetti of cosmic arms suggests the two galaxies have collided, with 1813 diving deep into the center of 1810 and out the other side. There's also a tenuous tidal bridge of material between the two galaxies, like a phone-line, tens of thousands of light-years long.
The ocean of sapphire gems glittering on top of the pair is the clustered, ultraviolet flare of intensely bright and hot blue stars. The full story is over on Wired.
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