Hubble Space Telescope has captured a gorgeous image of an object which is known as the IRAS 06076-2139 that has two galaxies zooming closely past one another at 2 million kilometers per hour. The speed is fast that the two galaxies are unable to merge into one single galaxy. Though because of the small space of nearly 20,000 light-years, the force of gravity could make them change their structure in the future by merging.
The galactic interactions like these are a frequent phenomenon in the cosmos. For instance, the Earth’s galaxy, the Milky Way, is about to merge with another giant galaxy known as the Andromeda galaxy which is close to 4.5 billion years old. According to NASA officials, the fate of the Milky Way galaxy should not be a distressful warning. The fact is, the galaxies have billions of stars but the distance between individual stars is greatly large to allow any collision when the galaxies merge.
In May 2012, the startling images of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy were released illustrating the before-and-after size of the Milky Way galaxy at the present and the likely position it will be when it merges with Andromeda which is about 10 billion years.
The merged galaxies are expected to blend together to form an elliptical galaxy with aging stars. The Sun will change the orbiting position after the merge and it’s likely going to be tossed into the looping orbit that will push it nearer to the center and beyond the outskirts of the newly created galaxy. The bright light from the merged galaxies will dominate the nighttime skies.
The Hubble Space Telescope is a joint undertaking of both NASA and the European Space Agency which was launched in space shuttle Discovery in early 1990. The device had some flaws which were fixed in 1993.
The astronauts have since repaired and advanced the iconic telescope on four further missions, the first being in 1997 followed by 1999, 2002 and the latest in 2009. Hubble is expected to observe the skies for up to 2020 unless other problems crop up.