Looking at these spectacular images is like looking into the future. The interaction and merging of galaxies is a very common phenomenon all thanks to gravity. There are two impressive forces at work in the universe involving galaxies. First there is dark energy which is accelerating the expansion of the universe and ultimately the space in between galaxy clusters. But on a more local level, gravity is at work and it is gravity that is contributing to galaxy interactions. So for example, the Whirlpool Galaxy is roughly 23 million miles away. We can assume that because of dark energy, this distance won’t be shortening any time soon but will instead increase. On the contrary you have the massive Andromeda Galaxy which is part of our local group of galaxies. And although it is 2.5 million light years away, it is closing in on us fast, at speeds of around 70 miles per second. Not to worry though because it will still be about 4 billion years until our cosmic collision with this impressive grand spiral galaxy. What we can guarantee is that the barred spiral of the Milky Way will no longer exist when that interaction occurs. Eventually as the two merge, they will form an elliptical galaxy that will trigger widespread star formation, known as starbursts. An example of this type of galaxy is seen here as the Antennae Galaxies. In regards to our eventual fate, It will truly be a sight to see if we humans are even around to witness it. From top to bottom, left to right, the following interacting/merged galaxies:
NGC 4676 (Mice Galaxies)
ESO 593-IG 008 (Bird Galaxy or Tinker Bell)
M51 (Whirlpool Galaxy)
NGC 4038 (Antennae Galaxies)
Antennae Galaxies (up-close)
Jason Hatfield and Colleen Pinski
An illustration of the Chicxulub impact crater in the Yucatán Peninsula.
Located on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, many scientists believe that the meteorite that left this crater caused or contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Estimates of its actual diameter range from 106 to a whooping 186 miles (170 to 300 kilometers), which if proved right could mean it’s the biggest.
Newfoundland. The Rock on the horizon.
Wired Space Photo of the Day: Venus From Saturn
M18, the small V shaped open cluster on the center or the pic. It’s located in one of the densest stellar fields of the Milky Way :)
Photos of Bizarre Jellyfish
Marine biologist Enric Sala spotted it off the coast of Chile, where he’s exploring the remote islands of Desventuradas.
“Something is approaching,” [submarine pilot Ari] says. Little by little, the figure starts to become visible in our lights but we do not know what it is. As soon as I hear him say, “This is incredible!” I know that this sighting is an exceptional one. A type of jellyfish, but with hard parts, like feet, that can turn and swim in all directions hypnotizes us. None of us have ever seen anything like it. We record it swimming for a half an hour thanks to the submarine’s true dance that Avi pilots to see this beautiful animal from every angle.
The most detailed account of what lives in this area is from 1875, and Enric hopes that cataloguing what lives in the area—including rare or unknown species like this jellyfish—will help Chilean scientists and conservation workers.
Evidence for a Deep Ocean on Europa Might be Found on its Surface
a state of dissatisfaction, anxiety, restlessness, or fidgeting.
Etymology: Neo-Latin < Greek dysphoría - malaise, discomfort.
Photo by Richard Sidey (Wanaka, New Zealand); Namib desert, Namibia
NGC 2736: The Pencil Nebula
Moving left to right near the center of this beautifully detailed color composite, the thin, bright, braided filaments are actually long ripples in a sheet of glowing gas seen almost edge on. The interstellar shock wave plows through space at over 500,000 kilometers per hour. Cataloged as NGC 2736, its elongated appearance suggests its popular name, the Pencil Nebula. The Pencil Nebula is about 5 light-years long and 800 light-years away, but represents only a small part of the Vela supernova remnant. The Vela remnant itself is around 100 light-years in diameter, the expanding debris cloud of a star that was seen to explode about 11,000 years ago. Initially, the shock wave was moving at millions of kilometers per hour but has slowed considerably, sweeping up surrounding interstellar material. In the narrowband, wide field image, red and blue-green colors track the characteristic glow of ionized hydrogen and oxygen atoms.
Image Credit & Copyright: Martin Pugh