Image Credit: Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), M. Donahue (STScI) & J. Trauger (JPL), NASA

Galactic mergers tend to cause affected galaxies to take on extraordinary shapes. Yet, most of these interactions leave the galaxies still looking like galaxies. This is NOT an example of such a collision.

NGC 1275, as its called, is the remnant of a spiral galaxy and an elliptical one. The former contained a significant concentration of interstellar materials, while the material in the latter was much more scarce. Regardless of this, the gravitational perturbation helped reignite star-formation activity within the region.

The pair are located more than 230 million light-years away - in the constellation of Perseus. Before the merger took place, each galaxy spanned about 50,000 light years across (approximately half the size of the Milky Way) - now, they merely look like a colossal ball of celestial string. When the dust settles, the newer galaxy will be more defined once again - as gravity does its job.


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