Friday, November 02, 2012

Left Side of the Aisle #80 - Part 5

And Another Thing 3: Picture of galaxies colliding

This really cool picture could be a picture of our future. Our very, very far distant future, but our future nonetheless.

This is a picture of two galaxies colliding. "Colliding" may not be quite the right word because this process has been going on for eons, but the result is that the two have almost merged, so much so that they share a single name, the decidedly unromantic but decidedly astronomically-precise NGC 2623.

The two galaxies that now form NGC 2623 were likely both once spiral galaxies, ones roughly the same mass as the Milky Way. And our own galaxy is on a collision course with the Andromeda Galaxy, which is also a spiral galaxy and just somewhat bigger than the Milky Way. So that collision - which will take place in about 3.75 billion years, so don't bother buying film - may well at the end of things produce something like what we can see here. Since it's unlikely we'll be around in 3.75 billion years, this is our best chance to check the view.

By the way, those blue streaks swirling out? They are massive dust clouds where new, young, hot - that is, blue - stars are being born. Cosmic nurseries, if you will.


No comments:

// I Support The Occupy Movement : banner and script by @jeffcouturer / (v1.2) document.write('
I support the OCCUPY movement
');function occupySwap(whichState){if(whichState==1){document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}else{document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}} document.write('');