Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have snapped the most detailed image ever of a pair of colliding galaxies, known as the Antenna galaxy.
The galaxies are the nearest merging pair to Earth, and the youngest too: the collision began about 500m years ago. As the two galaxies smash into one another, they create ideal conditions for new stars to be born. And new stars are forming in their billions.
What’s in this picture? According to NASA:
“Nearly half of the faint objects in the Antennae are young clusters containing tens of thousands of stars. The orange blobs to the left and right of image centre are the two cores of the original galaxies and consist mainly of old stars criss-crossed by filaments of dark brown dust. The two galaxies are dotted with brilliant blue star-forming regions surrounded by pink hydrogen gas.”
Astronomers believe that the image captured by the Hubble telescope shows a probable scenario when the Milky Way galaxy collides with the Andromeda about six billion years from now.
Hmm. I can wait.