|This pair of galaxies often goes by the nickname of the "Cocoon Galaxy."
Each "blob" is actually a spiral galaxy that has been distorted by the other.
Hints of spiral structure are still evident in the smaller galaxy.
These galaxies have already passed their closest approach (perigalacticon)
and are now speeding away from each other. A tail of stars stretches between
the galaxies which are separated by at least 24,000 light years. All of this
action takes place 40-50 million light years away. These interacting galaxies
make a good real-world example for astronomers to compare computer models
(simulations) of galactic collisions. Note the incredible number of starforming
regions that have developed along facing sides of each galaxy.
|L R G B color production was used to create this image.||
Minimum credit line: Michael Gariepy/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF
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