Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI)

In what looks like a collision caught on camera, the spiral galaxies NGC 2207 (the larger one on the left hand side of the image) and IC 2163, pass by each other, as described by NASA, "like majestic ships in the night."

In this near-collision, the gravitational influence of NGC 2207 is distorting the shape of the smaller galaxy, IC 2163, resulting in stars and gas being flung out in a projection extending from the galaxy on the right hand side of the image.

As a matter of perspective, this image covers well over 200,000 light years from end to end. That organizational patterns the scale of galaxies like these can arise through the interactions of matter with the same basic fundamental forces you and I experience everyday, is awe-inspiring indeed.

See a larger image here.

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