A ghostly “head” stares out from the depths of space in this Hubble Space Telescope image of two galaxies crashing into each other 704 light years away, a captivating harbinger of Halloween. The photo was captured in an ongoing survey of interacting galaxies to learn more about how such systems evolve.
The Hubble Space Telescope captures a snapshot of a collision between two galaxies 350 million light years away in the constellation Cetus, giving astronomers a ringside seat to a slow-motion merger that eventually will result in a single combined galaxy. Gravitational interactions are distorting the barred spirals, ripping away stars and dust.
A spectacular galaxy collision has been discovered lurking behind the Milky Way, the closest such system ever found. “Kathryn’s Wheel” was found during a special wide field survey of the Southern Milky Way with the UK Schmidt Telescope in Australia. Such systems are very rare and arise from “bull’s-eye” collisions between two galaxies of similar mass.