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Merging Galaxies (7th Jul 2024)

NGC 4038-4039 Merging Galaxies - The Antennae. Distance: 45 million Light Years.

No single event in the universe is as impressive and as physically altering as the collision of two galaxies. Galactic interactions and mergers are now recognized as playing a critical role in galactic evolution. Considering the immense vastness of space, collisions of these cosmic giants occurs more often than one might think.

Due to their enormous size and mass, and therefore very strong pull of gravity, the outcome is that collisions will occur at least a few times in the life of an average galaxy. Located in the constellation of Corvus, the crow, the merging galaxies NGC 4038 and 4039, are just one example of the cataclysmic collisions we see all over the sky.

The interaction between the two galaxies began between 300 and 450 million years ago and will likely end in the full merger of the two in some 300 million years.