NGC 2207 & IC 2163 .. Near Collision

Towards the constellation of Canis Major, two spiral galaxies pass by each other in a near collision. Data suggests that IC 2163 (the smaller galaxy at right) is swinging past NGC 2207 but has insufficient energy to escape from the gravitational pull of NGC 2207 and is destined to be pulled back and swing past the larger galaxy again in the future. 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.

Galaxy:
NGC 2207 (left) IC 2163 (right) in constellation Canis Major
Galaxy type: Spirals
Distance from Earth:
114 million light years
Galaxy Diameter: NGC 2207 143,000 light years IC 2163 101,000  light years

Photo source: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

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