Hubble telescope has taken a picture of colliding galaxies

Two colliding galaxies are located about 230 millionoin light years from Earth. They were first spotted in 1784 by William Herschel and were initially classified as a single irregular galaxy. However, we now know that NGC 6052 is actually two galaxies, ktore found on a collision course.

Millions of years ago, gravitational forces caused the approach of dwoch galaxies, resulting in a chaotic state, whichory today we observe. The process of galaxies colliding or merging causes individualolar stars in each galaxy will be ejected from their original orbits and placed in entirely new paths.

Galaxies are mostly empty space, so actual collisions of the stars themselves are very rare. Stars are very small relative to the distance between them. Eventually, in the distant future, these galaxies will completely merge and form a single, stable galaxy.

A similar fate also awaits our galaxy. In about four billion years, the Milky Way will collide with our closest galactic neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy.

Scientists are studying processes such as the one taking place in NGC 6052 to better understand the evolution of galaxies. This allows them to learn more about what our collision will look like in a few billionoin years. Galactic collisions are common in the Universe. We know, for example, that our neighbor Andromeda engulfed one of the smaller galaxies long ago.

The new image of NGC 6052 was taken with the Wide Field Camera 3 mounted on the Hubble Space Telescope'a.

High-resolution photo available on ESA’s website.

SourceoSource: ESA, photo. ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Adamo et al.; CC BY 4.0