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Picture of the Day - The Colliding Antennae Galaxies

Published by Elina on Tue Oct 1, 2013 5:39 pm via: HubbleSite
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These two spiral galaxies, drawn together by gravity, started to interact a few hundred million years ago. The Antennae Galaxies are the nearest and youngest examples of a pair of colliding galaxies, situated 45 million light-years away from the Milky Way. They give us a preview of what may happen when our Milky Way galaxy will collide with the neighboring Andromeda galaxy in several billion years. During their collision course, billions of stars will be formed.
Two cores of the original galaxies are seen in orange and consist mainly of old stars criss-crossed by filaments of dust, which appears brown in the image. The two galaxies are dotted with blue star-forming regions surrounded by glowing hydrogen gas, appearing in the image in pink. The brightest and most compact of these star birth regions are called super star clusters, containing a very large number of young, massive stars, ionizing the surrounding region of hydrogen gas.

The Antennae Galaxies on their collision course with bright star-forming regions.  Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

The Antennae Galaxies on their collision course with bright star-forming regions. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

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