Galaxies Colliding: NASA Shares Astonishing Pictures Of Cosmic Phenomena [PHOTO, VIDEO]

By Staff Reporter on June 24, 2013 5:29 PM EDT

Galaxies colliding
Two galaxies collide. See NGC 2936 and NGC 2937 come together. (Photo: NASA)

Galaxies are colliding in outer space and the NASA Hubble Space Telescope has taken a stunning image of the celestial wonder.

The interacting galaxies of NGC 2936 and NGC 2937 are collectively called Arp 142. In the shape of a graceful penguin (2936) looking over a bright egg (2937), the pair have become scrambled due to gravitational tidal interactions from other galaxies. The warps have disrupted the galaxy's orderly spiral and has stretched its trajectories.

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Gas and dust from NGC 2936 gets violently compressed in the encounter, triggering star formations, indicated as bluish knots distorted along the elliptical 2937. The reddish dust, once within the galaxy, are hurled out of the galaxy's plane to form dark veins against the nucleus.

As for the egg-like puffball of stars with little gas or dust, the NGC 2937 contains old stars and show no evidence of recent star formation. While the orbits of this elliptical's stars may be altered by the encounter, it's not apparent that the gravitational pull by its neighboring NGC 2936 is having much of an effect to the composition of NGC 2937.

According to Iowa State University, colliding galaxies are a part of galactic evolution. Colliding galaxies, also known as interacting galaxies, may lead to mergers if the galaxies no longer carry enough momentum to travel from one another. A merger will cause the two galaxies to form into a larger one, with the smaller of the two stripped apart from its composition to become a part of the larger galaxy.

If the two galaxies pass through one another, then the galaxy shapes will not be significantly disrupted. Both galaxies will retain a majority of their material and shape after the pass.

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