Friday, July 8, 2011

Astrophoto Friday - Colliding Galaxies

This pair of spiral galaxies are on a collision course with each other. The galaxies lie some 90 million light years from our Milky Way Galaxy. Collectively they are known as Arp 271 and individually as NGC 5426 and NGC 5427. Over the next several million years they will continue the slow gravitational dance that may eventually cause them to merge into one galaxy.

This image of Arp 271 was captured using the wide-angle 48-inch (1.2-meter) Samuel Oschin Schmidt Telescope. This is a crop of a much larger image. It was taken as a part of the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) survey and comes to us from Jason Surace and the PTF collaboration.

For a much more detailed shot, taken by a much larger telescope, be sure to check out this image of Arp 271 taken with the 8-meter Gemini South Telescope.

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