Mergers and Acquisitions

NGC 2623 is really two galaxies that are merging to become one. The pair lies some 300 million light-years distant toward the constellation Cancer. The are in the final stages their merger. The violent encounter between two galaxies that once may have been similar to our Milky Way has resulted in widespread star formation near a luminous core and along tidal tails. The opposing tidal tails extend more than 50,000 light-years from the combined nucleus and are filled with dust, gas, and young blue star clusters. Accretion by a supermassive black hole drives the activity near the nucleus. Star formation and the active galactic nucleus cause NGC 2623 to shine brightly across the spectrum.

BTW, in about 4 billion years, our galaxy, The Milky Way, will merge with the Andromeda Galaxy.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA