If you think a little while about this image and imagine what is actually happening there you will be shocked, no matter are you an astrophysicist or a young person just inspired by the beauty of the cosmos. There are two colliding galaxies, objects with the diameter of dozens of thousands light years wide. Mind-blowing...
This image of the Antennae galaxies is the sharpest image of the merging pair of galaxies. During the course of the collision, billions of stars will be formed. The brightest and most compact of these star birth regions are called super star clusters. These galaxies are located 62 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Corvus.
The two spiral galaxies started to interact a few hundred million years ago, making the Antennae galaxies one of the nearest and youngest examples of a pair of colliding galaxies. Nearly half of the faint objects in the Antennae image are young clusters containing tens of thousands of stars. The orange blobs to the left and right of the image center are the two cores of the original galaxies and consist mainly of old stars criss-crossed by filaments of dust, which appear brown in the image. The two galaxies are dotted with brilliant blue star-forming regions surrounded by glowing hydrogen gas, appearing in the image in red/pink.
The Image was reprocessed from the raw (Fits data) by the astrophotographer and founder of Cosmonity Michał Ostaszewski. This specific image was reprocessed using 3 main RGB channels related to narrowband filters of wavelengths of 435nm for the blue channel 550nm for the green channel and 814nm for the red channel also supported by a fourth additional channel representing the emission of ionized hydrogen(h-alpha) with the 656nm wavelength. This additional channel shows strong red nebulosity regions in the merging galaxy. Image was originally taken in 2005, so reprocessing allows to use the latest tools and enhanced details in a new and better way which offers a better quality of final print.
Data Credits: NASA, ESA
Image Processing: Michał Ostaszewski
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