NGC 2207 is a pair of colliding spiral galaxies. Their bright central nuclei resemble a striking set of eyes. In visible light (Hubble), trails of stars and gas trace out spiral arms, stretched by the tidal pull between the galaxies. When seen in infrared light (IR; Spitzer), the glow of warm dust appears. This dust is the raw material for the creation of new stars and planets. Complementary to the IR, the X-ray (Chandra) view reveals areas of active star formation and the birth of super star clusters. Though individual stars are too far apart to collide, the material between the stars merges to create high-density pockets of gas. These regions gravitationally collapse to trigger a firestorm of starbirth. The galaxy collision will go on for several millions of years, leaving the galaxies completely altered in terms of their shapes.
Publication: April 23, 2018