Stock Photo Description: The larger and more massive galaxy is cataloged as NGC 2207, and the smaller one on the right is IC 2163. Strong tidal forces from NGC 2207 have distorted the shape of IC 2163, flinging out stars and gas into long streamers stretching out a hundred thousand light-years toward the right-hand edge of the image. Trapped in their mutual orbit around each other, these two galaxies will continue to distort and disrupt each other. Eventually, billions of years from now, they will merge into a single, more massive galaxy. It is believed that many present-day galaxies, including the Milky Way, were assembled from a similar process of coalescence of smaller galaxies occurring over billions of years.
NOTE: Since 1990, Royce Bair has done extensive research at NASA to find the highest quality images that can be obtained from NASA on a given subject. Many sources have inferior quality copies. Royce Bair does not claim copyright to this NASA image. This image is not protected by copyright. All use and reproduction clearance for this NASA image has been made available except for the following restrictions: 1. NASA should be acknowledged as the source of this image. 2. The use of this NASA image should not be used to state or imply the endorsement by NASA or by any NASA employee of a commercial product, service or activity, or used in any other manner that might mislead. 3. It is unlawful to falsely claim copyright or other rights in NASA material.
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Stock Photography: Two Spiral Galaxies, a NASA Hubble Space Telescope Photo