Astronomy Picture of the Day

NGC 4676: When Mice Collide

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#105611 by @ 25.02.2008 00:00 - nach oben -
NGC 4676: When Mice Collide

These two mighty galaxies are pulling each other apart.

Known as "
The Mice
" because they have such long tails, each
spiral galaxy
has likely already passed through the other.

They will probably collide again and again until they coalesce.

The long
are created by the relative

difference between gravitational pulls
on the near and far parts of each galaxy.

Because the distances are so large,
the cosmic interaction takes place in slow motion --
over hundreds of millions of years.

NGC 4676
lies about 300 million
light-years away toward the constellation of Bernice's Hair
(Coma Berenices) and are
likely members
of the Coma Cluster of Galaxies.

The above picture was taken with the
Hubble Space Telescope's
Advanced Camera for Surveys
which is more sensitive and images a larger field than
previous Hubble cameras.

The camera's increased sensitivity has imaged, serendipitously,
galaxies far
in the distance scattered about the frame.

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