Feeds

Galactic collision captured in stunning detail

When galaxies collide

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have snapped the most detailed image ever of a pair of colliding galaxies, known as the Antenna galaxy.

The galaxies are the nearest merging pair to Earth, and the youngest too: the collision began about 500m years ago. As the two galaxies smash into one another, they create ideal conditions for new stars to be born. And new stars are forming in their billions.

Hubble snaps the antenna galaxy

So what are you looking at in that picture? (For a larger image, click here.)

Well, according to the NASA boffins:

"Nearly half of the faint objects in the Antennae are young clusters containing tens of thousands of stars. The orange blobs to the left and right of image centre are the two cores of the original galaxies and consist mainly of old stars criss-crossed by filaments of dark brown dust. The two galaxies are dotted with brilliant blue star-forming regions surrounded by pink hydrogen gas."

The new images from Hubble are helping astronomers sort out which bright spots are what. For instance, the brightest blobs are the biggest and most compact clusters, known as super clusters. But some of the bright spots are also solo stars.

The majority of the super clusters will eventually disperse, adding their residents to the general background of the galaxy. Some, around 100 of the very biggest, will manage to stick together, forming globular clusters, like the ones in our own Milky Way galaxy.

Speaking of the Milky Way, it is worth noting that the astronomers are also watching this collision to get a better idea of the fate that awaits our own galaxy, which is likely to collide with the (cosmically) nearish Andromeda galaxy in about six billion years time. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.