Hubble Space Telescope of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has recently captured a spectacular image of the galactic duo UGC 2369 charging closer to each other. It is to be noted that the UGC 2369 is a pair of two galaxies slowly merging into one system as a result of their proximity. The shape of the two galaxies are also getting distorted in the process. They are individually known as the Northern Galaxy UGC 2369 (UGC 2369N) and the Southern Galaxy UGC 2369 (UGC 2369S).
The galactic duo UGC 2369 are locked into each other’s powerful gravitational pull without any means of escape. NASA’s Hubble photo shows the effects of this attraction as the galaxies twist and contort in response. You can also see the pair of strange, luminescent creatures at play in this photo are actually galaxies — realms of millions upon millions of stars. The gap in-between the galaxies is bridged by vast amounts of cosmic dust and stellar gas.
Take a look:
Hubble snaps two galaxies charging towards each other (Photo Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Evans)
In a statement, NASA said, “Interaction with others is a common event in the history of most galaxies. For larger galaxies like the Milky Way, the majority of these interactions involve significantly smaller so-called dwarf galaxies. But every few billion years, a more momentous event can occur. For our home galaxy, the next big event will take place in about four billion years, when it will collide with its bigger neighbour, the Andromeda galaxy. Over time, the two galaxies will likely merge into one — already nicknamed Milkomeda.”
In the meantime, the European Space Agency (ESA) said, “The pair of strange, luminescent creatures at play in this image are actually galaxies – realms of millions upon millions of stars. “This galactic duo is known as UGC 2369. The galaxies are interacting, meaning that their mutual gravitational attraction is pulling them closer and closer together and distorting their shapes in the process,” it added.
“A tenuous bridge of gas, dust and stars can be seen connecting the two galaxies, created when they pulled out into space across the diminishing divide between them,” the ESA noted. According to the space agency, such interactions are a common occurrence throughout the history of the cosmos.
It is worth mentioning here that Hubble Space Telescope is operated by the European Space Agency.