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NGC4038AntennaeWEBFinalFMPhotoCroppedsMasterPhoto | by Tom Harrison1
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NGC4038AntennaeWEBFinalFMPhotoCroppedsMasterPhoto

"The Antennae", NGC4038/39 is a pair of colliding galaxies in the direction of the Constellation Corvus, previously thought to be 65 Million Light-Years distant, but now thought to be about 45 Million Light-Years away. The pair is the closest and youngest colliding galaxies to our Milky Way having begun their gravitational dance close to a hundred million years ago. The prominent tidal tail arms "antennae" were flung into the void starting around 300 million years ago, and now span around 360,000 Light-Years. The yellow/orange cores of the two galaxies are evident, along with numerous pinkish hydrogen gas star-forming regions, many clusters of giant blue stars, and massive dust clouds from which they were formed. Some of the more massive star clusters may survive to become globular clusters. The nuclei of the two will form one giant galaxy sometime in the next 400 million years.

 

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Taken on February 11, 2010