NASA's Hubble Space Telescope releases a video showing off colliding spiral galaxies. The collision between the two galaxies is expected to continue for several million years.
The 48-second video features the NGC 2207, a pair of colliding spiral galaxies. The clip reveals the bright central nuclei of the colliding galaxies that, according to the video's description, has a striking resemblance to a set of human eyes.
Colliding Spiral Galaxies
The Hubble telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory have worked together to make the clips of the NGC 2207 available for public view.
The visible light from the Hubble telescope unveils the trails of stars and the gas trace out spiral arms, which are stretched by the tidal pull between the galaxies. The glow of the warm dust becomes visible in the video with the aid of the infrared light from the Spitzer.
The team behind the footage explains that the dust is the raw material essential in the creation of new stars and planets.
Finally, the X-Rays from Chandra showed the areas where there is an active star formation. It is also the region where super star clusters will be born.
The Hubble team explains that stars are extremely far away from each other to actually smash together. However, in the course of smashing into each other, the dust between these stars joined together to create a high-density pocket of gas. A gravitational collapse of these regions will trigger a firestorm of star births.
Meanwhile, as the progression toward the actual galaxy collision takes place, the galaxies will also take the form of new shapes.
NGC 2207 and IC 2163
NASA had first spoken about the impressive light display of two colliding galaxies, specifically the NGC 2207 and IC 2163, in 2014 and then, most recently in 2017.
The agency says that the NGC 2207 and IC 2163 are located at about 130 million light-years from Earth. They are in the constellation of Canis Major.
This pair of galaxies has hosted three supernova explosions in the last 15 years. Consequently, it produced the most abundant display of super bright X-ray lights or what scientifically termed as ultraluminous X-ray sources. The ULXs were identified using data from Chandra.
The colliding galaxies, such as the pair NGC 2207 and IC 2163, are expected to bring with them an intense star formation. It is estimated that stars associated with the ULXs may only be as young as about 10 million years old.
While NGC 2207 and IC 2163 are in the course of their collision, stars are estimated to form at a rate equivalent to form 24 stars the mass of Earth's sun per year.