What Happens When Two Spiral Galaxies Collide? (Video)

By Andres Cordova
Epoch Times Staff
Created: November 19, 2011 Last Updated: February 26, 2012
Related articles: Science » Space & Astronomy
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This video simulates the merger of two spiral galaxies as if viewed through a telescope. It attempts to recreate the effects that would be perceived by the human eye, such as gas temperature variations, colors, star formation, and supernova feedback.

Compressed into almost five minutes of footage, we see how the merger would proceed over the space of 3 billion years.

The galaxies approach each other and collide, distorting their spiral arms. At first they move back and forth in a cosmic dance filled with colors, planets, and stars constantly rearranging positions.

One billion years after the collision, both galactic cores merge together, with planets and stars rotating around the new center.

The second half of the video highlights the importance of dust absorption during the final phase of the merging process, showing images with and without the dust.

Finally, the images are shown again in a different light, this time highlighting the true appearance of the galaxies, differentiating between star light and gas.

Galaxy collisions are a very important process. By observing a merger, we can measure the evolution of galaxies to understand how they assembled over time into their present form, and yielding further information about the development of our universe since its origin.

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