The iconic space telescope caught UGC 2369 as gravity pulls the galaxies together.
By Hailey Rose McLaughlin | Published: Monday, August 12, 2019
ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Evans
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope caught two galaxies merging in a dance-like fashion. The pair, dubbed UGC 2369, have been pulled together by gravity for quite some time now. And this pull creates the woven fabric of the blues and browns seen in the photo, which are actually dust, gas, and stars being pulled into the space between the galaxies.
Once the galaxies get close enough, the actual merger takes millions of years. But the process is quite common. When galaxies merge, they create new, bigger galaxies. For example, when two spiral galaxies come together, they can create an elliptical galaxy. One day in the distant future, some 4.5 billion years from now, the Milky Way and our nearby neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy, will likely merge as well.