NASA's Hubble telescope snapped these colliding galaxies 290 million ...

NASA'S Hubble Space Telescope snapped this breathtaking photo of two galaxies locked in a stellar heads-on collision.

PUBLISHED: 11:28, Thu, Sep 10, 2020 | UPDATED: 11:29, Thu, Sep 10, 2020

The colliding galaxies sit at the centre of NASA's official portrait of Stephan's Quintet. Also known as the Hickson Compact group 92, the image deceptively highlights a cluster of five galaxies. Deceptively, because subsequent studies have found the top-left object, NGC 7320, is seven times closer to Earth than the rest of the group.


The quintet's most interesting features, however, are in the dead centre of the photo.

There, a pair of galaxies dubbed NGC 7318A and 7318B are falling towards each other, due to the tug of their gravities.

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A similar fate will one day await our Milky Way and the neighbouring Andromeda Galaxy.

NASA said: "A clash among members of a famous galaxy quintet reveals an assortment of stars across a wide colour range, from young, blue stars to ageing, red stars."

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NASA news: Hubble photo of colliding galaxiesNASA news: Hubble photographed these two colliding galaxies millions of light-years away (Image: NASA/ESA)

NASA news: Hubble photo of Stephan's QuintetNASA news: The cluster is known as Stephan's Quintet (Image: NASA/ESA)

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Surrounding the galaxies are visible bands of pink hydrogen clouds where young stars are born.

The bright blue clusters are young stars that are less than 10 million years old.

And to the right of the galaxies is a region of intergalactic space where new star clusters are also taking shape.

Astronomers estimated these galaxies sit about 290 million light-years from Earth - 1,704,801,400,000,000,000,000 miles away.

In other words, the light from the galaxies travelled towards us for 290 million years.

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