A remarkable image captured by Hubble shows an embrace between two galaxies, which are known as Caldwell 60 (or NGC 4038) and Caldwell 61 (NGC 4039). The pair of galaxies are classified as Ringtail or Antennae galaxies due to their strange shape. They used to be regular galaxies at some point, but a constant clash has led to the appearance of an impressive arc between the two.
Several streams of stars are clearly visible within the image, justifying the suggestive name. Hubble has observed many galaxies of this type in the past. In most cases, the clues that signal the presence of the arc are clearly visible. The composite images include observations recorded in the ultraviolet, infrared, and visible spectrum.
Select images feature impressive clouds of pink and red cosmic gas with flashes of light where new stars surface. In some cases, the view can be affected by rogue streaks of dust that hide certain parts of the vista.
The Interaction Between the Two Galaxies Is Astonishing
It is estimated that more than one thousand young clusters of stars have been sparked by these clashes. Patterns in the shape of a rising spiral can be seen from blue star clusters. It is known that in Antennae galaxies, stars will form at an accelerated pace during some intervals, which are known as starbursts.
At some point, the process will consume all the available gas that is present nearby, and the galactic cores will start to cool down as the galaxies fuse to form a bigger elliptical galaxy.
The Antennae galaxies were observed by William Herschel, a renowned astronomer, in 1785, and they can be found at a distance of 65 million years away from Earth, within the Corvus constellation. Those who wish to view them will enjoy the best opportunity during autumn in the southern hemisphere or spring in the northern one. The use of a medium to the giant telescope is advised. Let’s see a video from SciTechDaily: