2 (Galaxies)

An excerpt from Nancy Atkinson’s “Twin Spiral Galaxies Dance Together” in  Universe Today

“…  The image was obtained, appropriately enough by the Gemini South telescope in Chile using GMOS, the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph. These two nearly identical spiral galaxies are in Virgo, 90 million light years distant, in the early stages of a gentle gravitational embrace.

“Like two dancers grabbing hands while passing, NGC 5427 (the nearly open-faced spiral galaxy at lower left) and its southern twin NGC 5426 (the more oblique galaxy at upper right), are in the throes of a slow but disturbing interaction one that could take a hundred million years to complete.

“Typically, the first sign of a galaxy interaction is the formation of a bridge-like feature. Indeed, the two spiral arms on the western (upper) side of NGC 5426 appear as long appendages that connect with NGC 5427. This intergalactic bridge acts like a feeding tube, allowing the twins to share gas and dust with one other across the 60,000 light years (less than one galaxy diameter) of space separating them.”

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