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This is a pair of colliding galaxies, barely resembling their former (spiral?) selves, in the process of becoming something new:

Click the image to see the story.

PS: Most of my astro-images of the day are not the same as you'd find on the Astronomy Picture of the Day site (to which I sometimes link out-of-order), which is well worth watching. Or just watch my LJ for what I think is the coolest bit o' astro-imagery out there each day *g*

Best,
Chris

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Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
bodandra
Jun. 29th, 2007 07:07 pm (UTC)
what a lovely image
This is a thing that makes me wonder - about the universe.
(The more I see, the more convinced I become of creatures being out there - we just can't be alone in the universe.)
Thanks, Chris.
mckitterick
Jun. 29th, 2007 10:35 pm (UTC)
Re: what a lovely image
Sensawonda - that's how astronomy (and meteorology, and palenontology, and...) feels like SF to me.
ericreynolds
Jun. 30th, 2007 12:51 am (UTC)
I remember seeing a Hale telescope photo of this when I was a kid, but it had none of the amazing detail of the core and filaments that this does.

Imagine the millions of solar systems that are flung out into intergalactic space, out there on their own, their planets' night skies virtually starless each night except when this double galaxy rises from the horizon. Imagine the effect on intelligent life that arises only after the planet is flung out. There would be a very large time gap between achieving interplanetary travel and interstellar travel (which would really be intergalactic travel). The nearest star to their system would be thousands of light years or more away compared to just 4.3 ly for us.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )