Hubble showed a dazzling collision of two galaxies

Located in the constellation Hercules, at a distance of about 230 million light-years, NGC 6052 is a pair of colliding galaxies. They were first discovered in 1784 by William Herschel and were initially classified as a single irregular galaxy due to their strange shape. Already after scientists have determined that NGC 6052 actually consists of two galaxies that are in the process of collision. This image of NGC 6052 was taken using the Wide Field Camera 3 on the Hubble Space Telescope.

Long ago, gravity brought two galaxies to a chaotic state, which we are now seeing. The stars of both original galaxies now follow new trajectories caused by new gravitational effects. Despite this, real collisions between the stars themselves are very rare, since the stars are very small relative to the distances between them (most of the galaxy is empty space). In the future, galaxies will fully merge, forming a single stable galaxy.

Our Milky Way will face a similar event in the future with our closest galactic neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy. But it will take about 4 billion years to wait.

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