Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Colliding Spiral Galaxies of Arp 271
Posted on 08/25/2013 6:08:42 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Explanation: What will become of these galaxies? Spiral galaxies NGC 5426 and NGC 5427 are passing dangerously close to each other, but each is likely to survive this collision. Typically when galaxies collide, a large galaxy eats a much smaller galaxy. In this case, however, the two galaxies are quite similar, each being a sprawling spiral with expansive arms and a compact core. As the galaxies advance over the next tens of millions of years, their component stars are unlikely to collide, although new stars will form in the bunching of gas caused by gravitational tides. Close inspection of the above image taken by the 8-meter Gemini-South Telescope in Chile shows a bridge of material momentarily connecting the two giants. Known collectively as Arp 271, the interacting pair spans about 130,000 light years and lies about 90 million light-years away toward the constellation of Virgo. Recent predictions hold that our Milky Way Galaxy will undergo a similar collision with the neighboring Andromeda Galaxy in a few billion years.
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“You didn’t signal!”
“Yeah well you were texting while spiraling!”
Yep, but I bet anyone on an earth-like planet would see some spectacular meteor storms.
Indeed and also imagine what it would look like if a big bolide struck a shallow sea:
Imagine a 120 mile wide crater torn open in the bottom of a shallow sea.
Where does the sea water go?
It tries to fill the hole.
The bottom of the hole is orange yellow to white hot.
What does sea water do when you pour it onto a 2000°F pool of molten rock? It boils and expands 1740 times in volume.
Where does this extra suddenly created volume go? Its on a rock floor, it can’t go down. It is surrounded by a ring of crater wall and a high wall of in-pouring seawater, it can’t go sideways.
The crater makes what is in effect a rocket nozzle. The only path is up. Up into space.
It could take, say, forty days and forty nights before the fraction of the vast amount of water blasted into space that was going to make a return trip stopped settling back to earth.
Imagine what an evening sky would look like with trillions of gallons of frozen droplets of ice in a orbital cloud with raw sunlight shining on it.
Id say a vast horizon-to-horizon ground to zenith daylight bright rainbow...
What is so frustrating about such beauty and wonderment is that it occurs over enormous spans of time. Sure, a snapshot is breathtaking, but what I want is time-lapse photography over, say, a million years. :-)
“I said ‘Bud Light’.”