UGC 8335 / Arp 238

Happy Friday the 13th, Sky Fans! I’m sitting at my space-stuff-writin’ desk with a goalie’s mask on. So, if you don’t mind, please be scared. You’ve made it this far, congratulations. Here’s to you. It’s been a busy week for me, too. Before it gets too late, feast your eyes on this. What we’ve got here is UGC 8335, also known as Arp 238, as seen by Hubble. This is a pair of interacting spiral galaxies about 400 miles… no…. not 400 miles away… 400 *million light years* away in the constellation Ursa Major, the Big Bear. That’s the one with the Big Dipper in it. These galaxies are passing by or through each other. Their gravitational forces are pulling them apart and pushing them back together as they slowly swing back and forth. The distance between the stars, though, is so stomach-churningly huge that even though the galaxies may be passing through each other, the stars in the galaxies will never meet. They won’t smash into each other. This is kind of like what’s going to happen to our Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy when they cross paths billions of years from now. Imagine, someone out there is looking up at the sky tonight and seeing a giant spiral galaxy occupying a huge chunk of the dark. It must be something. Clear skies, and have a great weekend, everyone!hs-2008-16-ah-large_web

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