This space photo of the day shows the mighty Heron Galaxy.
Galaxies can engage in elaborate dances over millions of years, producing exquisite grand designs. One such example is the galactic duel known as NGC 5394 and 5, nicknamed the Heron Galaxy. The existence of our universe is dependent upon interactions, from subatomic particles to clusters of galaxies.
At galactic scales, interactions can take millions of years to unfold, as seen in an image of two galaxies released by the Gemini Observatory. The image captures the slow dance of a pair of galaxies, 160 million light years away, and reveals subsequent star formation fuelled by their interaction.
Galactic collisions can be a lengthy process, morphing galaxies into exotic forms. The interaction can also cause the coalescence of hydrogen gas into regions of star formation.
Many stargazers imagine the two galaxies as a heron, with the larger galaxy as the bird's body and the smaller one as its head.
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