A Galactic Spectacle

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    NASA image release August 5, 2010

    A beautiful new image of two colliding galaxies has been released by NASA's Great Observatories. The Antennae galaxies, located about 62 million light-years from Earth, are shown in this composite image from the Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue), the Hubble Space Telescope (gold and brown), and the Spitzer Space Telescope (red). The Antennae galaxies take their name from the long antenna-like "arms," seen in wide-angle views of the system. These features were produced by tidal forces generated in the collision.

    The collision, which began more than 100 million years ago and is still occurring, has triggered the formation of millions of stars in clouds of dusts and gas in the galaxies. The most massive of these young stars have already sped through their evolution in a few million years and exploded as supernovas.

    The X-ray image from Chandra shows huge clouds of hot, interstellar gas that have been injected with rich deposits of elements from supernova explosions. This enriched gas, which includes elements such as oxygen, iron, magnesium, and silicon, will be incorporated into new generations of stars and planets. The bright, point-like sources in the image are produced by material falling onto black holes and neutron stars that are remnants of the massive stars. Some of these black holes may have masses that are almost one hundred times that of the Sun.

    The Spitzer data show infrared light from warm dust clouds that have been heated by newborn stars, with the brightest clouds lying in the overlapping region between the two galaxies.
    The Hubble data reveal old stars and star-forming regions in gold and white, while filaments of dust appear in brown. Many of the fainter objects in the optical image are clusters containing thousands of stars.

    The Chandra image was taken in December 1999. The Spitzer image was taken in December 2003. The Hubble image was taken in July 2004, and February 2005.

    To read more go to: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/chandra/multimedia/antennae.html

    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is home to the nation's largest organization of combined scientists, engineers and technologists that build spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe.

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    Credit: NASA, ESA, SAO, CXC, JPL-Caltech, and STScI

    Acknowledgment: G. Fabbiano and Z. Wang (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA), and B. Whitmore (STScI)

    Larch, ElDave, Colibrí, and 428 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 15 more comments

    1. writtersrightword 56 months ago | reply

      Outstanding! Science is so amazing.

    2. msamaclean © 56 months ago | reply

      Fabulous!!!!!!

    3. Hoshinokun 56 months ago | reply

      wow...im speechless!

    4. deadheading 56 months ago | reply

      mind blowing !!

    5. Caity, c.s.k. [deleted] 56 months ago | reply

      That is amazing!

    6. Soleil is me. 56 months ago | reply

      Bravo! Greeting from Bangkok, The incredible work of the week:)
      Happy to join my group:-
      SPLENDID IMAGE... YOUR IS THE BEST, BY AN ADMIN CONSIDERED.

      INSPIRE Invite ONLY
      You are INVITED to display this wonderful photo
      in the INSPIRE Pool
      Be happy and hugs someone:)

    7. klefto 56 months ago | reply

      this is amazing. thanks for sharing.

    8. Filo Schira 56 months ago | reply

      How beautiful!!!!

    9. Olympe B. 56 months ago | reply

      Absolutely amazing!!!!

    10. Gildas Paraiso 56 months ago | reply

      Superb Shot!
      Love it.
      Have a great day.
      Seen in Explore

      commented with FlickrComment

    11. T.D. Photographe 56 months ago | reply

      Waouh ! Magnifique !

    12. Σταύρος 56 months ago | reply

      Beautiful colision ...;)

    13. chelsea▼naomi [deleted] 56 months ago | reply

      beautiful.

    14. MAS QUE UNA IMAGEN UN SENTIMIENTO.... 56 months ago | reply

      that most spectacular fotogarfia

    15. joekay61 50 months ago | reply

      Very fetal!

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