Clash of the Titan Galaxies

NGC 520 — also known as Arp 157 — is actually a mashup of two gigantic galaxies. Credit: ESO

Is this galaxy exploding? Although that’s what it might look like, this is actually two gigantic galaxies crashing into each other. NGC 520 — also known as Arp 157 — is a mashup of two huge galaxies, now combining into one. We can’t really watch the process, as it happens extremely slowly — over millions of years, and the whole process started about 300 million years ago. Apr 157 is about 100,000 light-years across and is now in the middle stage of the merging process, as the two nuclei haven’t come together yet, but the two discs have. The merger features a tail of stars and a prominent dust lane. NGC 520 is one of the brightest interacting galaxies in the sky and lies in the direction of Pisces (the Fish), approximately 100 million light-years from Earth. (…) Read the rest of Clash of the Titan Galaxies (60 words)

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