ad info

 Headline News brief
 news quiz
 daily almanac

 video archive
 multimedia showcase
 more services

Subscribe to one of our news e-mail lists.
Enter your address:
Get a free e-mail account

 message boards

CNN Websites
 En Español
 Em Português


Networks image
 more networks

 ad info


  sci-tech > space > story pagecorner  

Hubble image shows brush of majestic galaxies


November 4, 1999
Web posted at: 11:42 a.m. EST (1642 GMT)

(CNN) -- Two spiral galaxies pass by each other like cosmic ships in the night, nearly colliding, in this image taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and its Wide Field Planetary Camera 2.

Strong tidal forces from NGC 2207, at left, the larger and more massive galaxy, have distorted the shape of galaxy IC 2163, at right, flinging out stars and gas into long streamers stretching out a hundred thousand light-years toward the right-hand edge of the image, the Space Telescope Science Institute said in a statement.

3-D VRML models:
Maneuver the Hubble Space Telescope

The galaxies are located in the direction of the constellation Canis Major.

The high resolution of the Hubble telescope image reveals dust lanes in the spiral arms of NGC 2207, clearly silhouetted against IC 2163, which is in the background. Hubble also reveals a series of parallel dust filaments extending like fine brush strokes along the tidally stretched material on the right-hand side.

The large concentrations of gas and dust in both galaxies may well erupt into regions of active star formation in the near future, scientists at the Institute said.

Trapped in their mutual orbit around each other, the two galaxies will continue to distort and disrupt each other. Eventually, billions of years from now, they will merge into a single, more massive galaxy. It is believed that many present-day galaxies, including the Milky Way, were assembled from a similar process of coalescence of smaller galaxies occurring over billions of years, according to the Institute.

This Heritage image was created from data gathered by Hubble on May 25, 1996, and November 11, 1998.

The Hubble Heritage project is an initiative of the Space Telescope Science Institute to release on the Internet every month a new image from an archive of more than 130,000 Hubble images originally made and stored for scientific research.

Hubble reveals source of ultraviolet light in old galaxy
October 26, 1999
Hubble snaps clues about origin of spiral galaxies
October 6, 1999
Stellar nursery in nearby galaxy teems with activity
September 29, 1999
Galaxies dance before merger
September 6, 1999
Hubble captures celestial 'hourglass'
August 25, 1999
Hubble sees stars in red, white and blue
July 6, 1999
Hubble snaps Martian close-ups
July 1, 1999
Hubble catches cosmic 'butterfly'
June 14, 1999
Hubble picture reveals seeds of planet-making
June 2, 1999

Hubble Heritage Project
Space Telescope Science Institute
The Next Generation Space Telescope
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.