Credit & Copyright: NASA, Hubble Space TelescopeExplanation: The Cartwheel Galaxy shows a ring that is the result of a collision between a small and a large galaxy. After a small galaxy has moved through a big galaxy - in this case one that probably resembled our own Milky Way - a star formation wave moves out from the impact point like ripples across the surface of a pond. When galaxies collide it is rare that any two stars actually collide. Gravity, however, causes density waves to move out through the galaxy which in turn triggers the formation of hot, bright young stars, producing the ring that we see in this picture.
For more information see NASA, Hubble Space Telescope Scientific Institute press release.
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& Michigan Tech. U.
Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day
Publications with keywords: Cartwheel galaxy
Publications with words: Cartwheel galaxy