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NGC 6240: When Galaxies Collide
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NGC 6240: When Galaxies Collide
Credit & Copyright: 2.2m Telescope, La Silla, Chile, ESO, MPI, W. Keel (UA)
Explanation: Sometimes even galaxies can suffer a fatal attraction. Here gravity causes two galaxies to collide in a spectacular display of energetic gas, 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 center of the NGC 6240 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 bright in infrared light.

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.

Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day

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