Wednesday, February 27, 2008

NGC 4676: When Mice Collide


Credit: ACS Science & Engineering Team, Hubble Space Telescope, NASA
Explanation: These two mighty galaxies are pulling each other apart. Known as " The Mice" because they have such long tails, each spiral galaxy has likely already passed through the other. They will probably collide again and again until they coalesce. The long tails are created by the relative difference between gravitational pulls on the near and far parts of each galaxy. Because the distances are so large, the cosmic interaction takes place in slow motion -- over hundreds of millions of years. NGC 4676 lies about 300 million light-years away toward the constellation of Bernice's Hair (Coma Berenices) and are likely members of the Coma Cluster of Galaxies. The above picture was taken with the Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys which is more sensitive and images a larger field than previous Hubble cameras. The camera's increased sensitivity has imaged, serendipitously, galaxies far in the distance scattered about the frame.

4 comments:

Brooke said...

Lovely!

Hey, Eyes, have you been watching Cosmos on Tuesday nights?

Eyes said...

Hi BRooke, Sometimes. They're all repeats. I still like watching them, especially before bedtime - they make me sleepy thinking about the grand scale of the universe... and how small we all are! I also like the universe.. anything to do with the cosmos.

Of course Sagan interjects his materialistic philosophy at every opportune time *gag*

He's dead, I think. I guess he knows now...

The Merry Widow said...

He is, and brother does he ever! Oooops!

tmw

Eyes said...

:>D