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December 28, 1995
NGC 6240: When Galaxies Collide
Credit: 2.2m Telescope, La Silla, Chile,
MPI, W. Keel
galaxies can suffer a fatal attraction. Here
gravity causes two
galaxies to collide in a spectacular display of
dust, and light. When
galaxies collide it is rare that any
stars in the galaxies
themselves collide, or that any change will be seen in a human lifetime.
Rather the structure of one or both galaxies gets slowly disrupted, while
interior gas condenses to new
star forming regions. Stellar motions in the
centre of the
frenetic mix are among the highest in any stellar
system. Galaxy mergers may emit energetic radiations across the
electromagnetic spectrum. This galactic jumble is, in fact, extremely
Tomorrow's picture: NGC 4361: Galaxy Shaped Planetary
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