Galaxies giving impression of collision

June 14, 2012 at 8:08 PM
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BALTIMORE, June 14 (UPI) -- NASA says the Hubble Space Telescope has captured a chance alignment between two galaxies that mimics what a cosmic collision would look like.

While the two galaxies look as if they are colliding, they are actually separated by tens of millions of light-years, or about 10 times the distance between our Milky Way and our neighboring Andromeda galaxy, the Space Telescopes Science Institute reported Thursday.

The chance alignment of the two galaxies as seen from Earth provides a unique look at the silhouetted spiral arms of the closer face-on spiral, NGC 3314A, astronomers said.

The motions of NGC 3314A and the second galaxy, NGC 3314B, show they are both relatively undisturbed and are moving in markedly different directions, indicating they are not on any collision course.

Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys produced the image from exposures taken in blue and red light of the pair of galaxies that lie roughly 140 million light-years from Earth, in the direction of the southern hemisphere constellation Hydra.

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