A new video from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope offered a breathtaking look at two far away galaxies merging, or colliding with each other, continuing a process that is expected to last for millions of years to come.
On Monday, the Hubble team discussed a 48-second video they posted of NGC 2207 and IC 2163, a pair of spiral galaxies whose central nuclei were described as akin to a “striking set of eyes.” The caption accompanying the video explained how a variety of telescopes, including the Hubble telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, were responsible for the clip’s visuals, as a combination of visible light, infrared and X-ray tools made it possible to view the gradual collision as it takes place.
As further explained by UPI, the two colliding galaxies on the Hubble Space Telescope video are located about 80 million light-years away from Earth. NGC 2207 is the larger of the two objects, and is listed as an intermediate spiral galaxy, while IC 2163 is the smaller object, and is classified as a barred spiral galaxy. The collision is expected to last for “several millions of years,” and to alter the shape of both objects once the merger is completed; UPI noted that the end result might see the galaxies resembling a one-eyed “cyclops,” instead of a pair of eyes.
The Hubble Space Telescope team also explained in the video’s caption that the space dust from the collision is already leading to the birth of several new stars and “super star clusters.” According to Outer Places, this is a trademark feature of galactic collisions, as the materials produced by the merger of both objects help form what is often called a “stellar nursery” of baby stars.
This isn’t the first time NGC 2207 and IC 2163 have been in the news, as NASA shared a photo of the same pair of spiral galaxies in 2014, noting that the objects had hosted three supernova explosions in the 15 years prior, while also creating “one of the most bountiful collections” of ultra-luminous X-ray sources, as spotted by the Chandra X-ray observatory.
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The new Hubble Space Telescope video also comes just a few days after a study published in the journal Nature looked at another pair of galaxies on the verge of collision, located approximately 400 million light-years away from Earth. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the ongoing merger of the two objects resulted in a butterfly wing-shaped nebula that researchers believe has the effect of slowing down the birth of new stars.