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News Release Archive:

News Release 150 of 960

October 27, 2011 09:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2011-30

Astronomers Pin Down Galaxy Collision Rate

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Image: Simulated Images of Merging Galaxies

Simulated Images of Merging Galaxies

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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:

These illustrations demonstrate how two galaxies coalesce in a slow dance that lasts about a billion years.

The graphics are taken from a simulation astronomers created to determine how long it takes for galaxies to complete a merger. By understanding the time it takes for two merging systems to become one normal-looking galaxy, astronomers can calculate how many galaxy encounters happen over time. This information yields important clues about how galaxies have changed throughout the universe's history.

Image Type: Illustration

Credit: P. Jonsson (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), G. Novak (Princeton University), and T.J. Cox (Carnegie Observatories, Pasadena, Calif.)

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