Hubble spots pair of galaxies passing at high speed

By Brooks Hays   |   May 12, 2017 at 4:33 PM

May 12 (UPI) -- Some 500 million light-years from Earth, a pair of galaxies are whizzing by one another at high speeds.

The Hubble Space Telescope was recently able to image the near-collision using both its Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys. The result is a portrait of two galaxies appearing as one.

But the near-miss won't result in a newly merged galaxy. Though passing at a distance of just 20,000 light-years, the pair are moving too fast. The galaxies are flying past each other at a speed of 1,243,000 miles per hour.

The gravity of each, however, will transform the structure of the other on a grand scale.

Galactic collisions and mergers aren't uncommon, and remain a constant target for Hubble and its human controllers. The Milky Way itself will eventually -- in 4.5 billion years -- collide with and be subsumed by the Andromeda Galaxy.

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