Feeds

Galactic collision captured in stunning detail

When galaxies collide

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

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. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.