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A Cosmic Embrace

In this image, two spiral galaxies, similar in looks to the Milky Way, are participating in a cosmic ballet, which, in a few billion years, will end up in a complete galactic merger — the two galaxies will become a single, bigger one.

Located about 150 million light-years away in the constellation of Canis Major (the Great Dog), NGC 2207 — the larger of the two — and its companion, IC 2163, form a magnificent pair. English astronomer John Herschel discovered them in 1835.

The fatal gravitational attraction of NGC 2207 is already wreaking havoc throughout its smaller partner, distorting IC 2163’s shape and flinging out stars and gas into long streamers that extend over 100,000 light-years. The space between the individual stars in a galaxy is so vast, however, that when these galaxies collide, virtually none of the stars in them will actually physically smash into each other.

This image was captured with the ESO Faint Object Spectrograph and Camera (EFOSC2) through three wide band filters (B, V, R). EFOSC2 has a 4.1 x 4.1 arcminute field of view and is attached to the 3.6-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile.

Credit:

ESO

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About the Image

Id:ngc2207
Type:Observation
Release date:3 December 2009, 23:18
Size:1995 x 2005 px

About the Object

Name:IC 2163, NGC 2207
Type:• Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Spiral
• X - Galaxies
Distance:150 million light years
Constellation:Canis Major

Image Formats

Suuri JPEG
1.6 MB
Screensize JPEG
208.1 KB

Wallpapers

1024x768
242.4 KB
1280x1024
452.7 KB
1600x1200
755.3 KB
1920x1200
1007.4 KB
2048x1536
1.4 MB

Coordinates

Position (RA):6 16 22.14
Position (Dec):-21° 22' 23.25"
Field of view:5.23 x 5.26 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 1.8° right of vertical
View in WorldWide Telescope:
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Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
B
440 nm ESO 3.6-metre telescope
EFOSC2
Optical
V
547 nm ESO 3.6-metre telescope
EFOSC2
Optical
R
643 nm ESO 3.6-metre telescope
EFOSC2

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