Antennae Galaxies: This image could also be named "The Dancing Galaxies" as actually these interacting galaxies are absorbed in a cosmic dance. NGC 4038 (left) and NGC 4039 (right) started their approach to each other under the influence of their gravitational forces some 900 Mio years ago. 600 Mio years ago the two spiral galaxies passed through each other, releasing stars, gas and dust (the antennae like arcs) about 300 Mio years ago by tidal forces.
In 400 Mio years they will probably merge to one huge elliptical galaxy. This scenario is probably very similar to what Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy will perform in the future.
The Antennae Galaxies are 45 Mio LY from us.

The image was taken at the IAS astronomical site at the Hakos farm in Namibia.

Object Antennae Galaxies
Category IAS Hakos, Namibia
Designation NGC 4038,4039
Constellation Corvus
Optics Keller 20 inch Cassegrain f/9 in corrected secondary focus
Mount Liebscher GEM
Camera SBIG STL-11000M with internal CFW 5
Exposure 2 x 10min each Astrodon LRGB filterset. Maxim DL for image acquisition
Calibration Dark Frame
Guiding Selfguiding
Processing Maxim DL5, Photoshop. Color Code L,R,G,B
Location-Date IAS-Hakos, Namibia - 19 Apr 2010
Back to