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.
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