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The stunning image shows merging galaxies

The stunning image shows merging galaxies

© Gemini International Observatory / NOIRLab / NSF / AURA

with the north Gemini telescope In Hawaii an amazing photo was taken. The picture shows 2 spiral galaxieswhich is in the process of collision and merging.

Here you can download the image in full resolution: NOIRLab

galaxies NGC 4568 And the NGC 4567. They are 60 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation Virgo.

The respective galactic centers are only 20,000 light years separate from each other. This roughly corresponds to the distance between Earth and the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. Both galaxies still have a typical spiral shape, but that will soon change.

It will happen with the two galaxies

The two galaxies attract each other through gravitational fields. Gradual integration becomes the focus Forming new stars Effects. Swirl shapes of both galaxies are distorted.

This chaos will continue for millions of years. Each time the galaxies orbit each other, the orbit narrows. The flow of gas and stars being pulled from the two galaxies is getting longer.

In the end it will be galaxies approx 500 million years Merged into a single elliptical galaxy. At that time, gas and dust in the system would likely have been blown away by the massive forces or simply had been used up – at which point there would be no “fuel” for creating new stars.

A similar fate awaits us. our neighbor Andromeda GalaxyYou will collide with the Milky Way. That should be so far in about 5 billion years.

A supernova in the galaxy NGC 4568

There are other exciting details hidden in the stunning images of the colliding galaxies NGC 4568 and NGC 4567. Near the center of NGC 4568 are the bright remnants of a Supernova Visible. This supernova has the name SN 2020fqv It was discovered in 2020.