Beautiful image

One of the great things about astronomy is that it produces pretty pictures. This new image from the Hubble Space Telescope is one of the most beautiful I've seen in a while. It is like a shining, jewel encrusted piece of embroidary. The image shows the central regions (the yellow/orange blobs) of the Antennae galaxies, in the constellation of Corvus, which have been colliding together for around 500 million years.

Antennae Galaxies
HST image of the Antennae galaxies merging together and forming new stars CREDIT: NASA, ESA, and B. Whitmore (Space Telescope Science Institute). Acknowledgement: James Long (ESA/Hubble).
The collision is causing lots of new stars to form (the blue bits) as clouds of hydrogen (the pink bits) and dust (the dark bands) smash into one another. There is so much interesting astrophysics you can do with something like this; from stellar physics to the interstellar medium to galaxy mergers. Fantastic! Anyway, I've got to rush off to give a talk so I'll send you to the press release for the full details and of course the bigger version of the image.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Tuesday 17th Oct 2006 (14:00 BST) | Permalink
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