Picture This

A final postcard from a venerable instrument

Before it was decommissioned, the European Southern Observatory’s Visible Multi-Object Spectrograph captured this stunning view of two gravitationally interacting galaxies 110 million light years away. Over its 16-year career, VIMOS captured tens of thousands of galactic spectra, shedding light on how massive galaxies form and evolve.


Interacting galaxies produce eye-shaped “tsunami” of stars

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) have discovered a tsunami of stars and gas that is crashing midway through the disc of a spiral galaxy known as IC 2163. This colossal wave of material — which was triggered when IC 2163 recently sideswiped another spiral galaxy dubbed NGC 2207 — produced dazzling arcs of intense star formation that resemble a pair of eyelids.