A new image from a telescope displays two galaxies entangled that will eventually merge into one millions of years from now. It is a preview of the eventual fate that our own Milky Way galaxy will undergo. The image was take by the Gemini North telescope, located on the summit of Maunakea in Hawaii.
The interacting spiral galaxies are roughly 60 million light-years away in the Virgo constellation. The two Butterfly galaxies, NGC 4567 and NGC 45668 have just begun to collide under the forces of gravity.
In about 500 million years, the two galaxies will complete their merger to form a single elliptical galaxy. In this early stage of merger, the two galactic centers are 20,000 light-years apart and each galaxy still has its pinwheel shape. The original structures of the two cosmic systems will change and distort.
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