2019 June 14
影像提供与版权: Bruce Waddington
说明: 这两个庞大的星系正在拉开彼此。它们之所以被称为双鼠星系是因为它们都具有长长的尾巴，每一个大型旋涡星系实际上都穿过了另一个星系。它们的长尾巴是被强烈的引力潮牵引出来，而不是星系中单个恒星的碰撞产生的。因为它们距离我们如此遥远，所以宇宙间的相互作用是以慢运动的方式发生，通常要经历数亿万年。在接下来的十亿年里，它们可能会发生一次又一次地碰撞，直到它们合并形成一个星系。NGC 4676位于后发座方向、距离我们大约3亿光年远，很可能是后发星系团的成员。这幅宽阔的视野在小型望远镜中并不常见，它捕捉到了数十万光年长的黯淡潮汐尾。
NGC 4676: The Mighty Mice
Image Credit & Copyright: Bruce Waddington
Explanation: These two mighty galaxies are pulling each other apart. Known as The Mice because they have such long tails, each large spiral galaxy has actually passed through the other. Their long tails are drawn out by strong gravitational tides rather than collisions of their individual stars. Because the distances are so large, the cosmic interaction takes place in slow motion -- over hundreds of millions of years. They will probably collide again and again over the next billion years until they coalesce to form a single galaxy. NGC 4676 lies about 300 million light-years away toward the constellation of Bernice's Hair (Coma Berenices) and are likely members of the Coma Cluster of Galaxies. Not often imaged in small telescopes, this wide field of view catches the faint tidal tails several hundred thousand light-years long.