This beautiful image of two colliding galaxies has been released by NASA’s great observatories. The Antennae galaxies are located about 62 million light-years from Earth. They take their name from the long antenna-like “arms,” which were produced by tidal forces generated in the collision. The collision began more than 100 million years ago and is still in progress. It has triggered the formation of millions of stars in clouds of dust and gas in the galaxies.
The image is a composite from the Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue), the Hubble Space Telescope (gold and brown), and the Spitzer Space Telescope (red). The scientific designation for the two galaxies are NGC 4038/4039.
Image credit: NASA, ESA, SAO, CXC, JPL-Caltech, and STScI
Acknowledgment: J. DePasquale (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA), and B. Whitmore (STScI)