torn apart approaching the giant elliptical galaxy Centaurus A. The 2,000 light-year long arc is revealed in the upper right corner of this processed color digital image, while the dense central region of Centaurus A is near the bottom. Star clusters that make up the blue arc are likely strung out along the incoming trajectory of the small galaxy and are estimated to be only 200-400 million years old. The remarkable result suggests that astronomers have identified a spectacular example of a kind of galactic cannibalism in progress, a process which is believed to contribute to the formation and evolution of large galaxies, including our own Milky Way. Over time, stars and star clusters in this stream should eventually disperse and merge with tumultuous Centaurus A. The image data was recorded with the four meter Blanco telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory.
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Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day
Publications with keywords: Centaurus A - NGC 5128 - galactic collision - star formation
Publications with words: Centaurus A - NGC 5128 - galactic collision - star formation