Saturday, May 3, 2008
Courtesy of the Hubble telescope: ARP 272
Here is what NASA (the U.S.'s National Aeronautics and Space Administration) says about this photo, which was their Astronomy Picture of the Day on April 30, 2008: “Linking spiral arms, two large colliding galaxies are featured in this Hubble Space Telescope view, part of a series of cosmic snapshots released to celebrate the Hubble's 18th anniversary. Recorded in astronomer Halton Arp's Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies as Arp 272, the pair is otherwise known as NGC 6050 and IC 1179. They lie some 450 million light-years away in the Hercules Galaxy Cluster. At that estimated distance, the picture itself spans over 150 thousand light-years across. Although this scenario does look peculiar, galaxy collisions and their eventual mergers are now understood to be common, with Arp 272 representing a stage in this inevitable process. In fact, the nearby large spiral Andromeda Galaxy is known to be approaching our own galaxy and Arp 272 may offer a glimpse of the far future collision between Andromeda and the Milky Way.”
You can click on the photo to get a better “close-up” view. Amazing, amazing, amazing.
Even more amazing is this: In Psalm 147 in my Bible, immediately after verse 3 (“He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds.”) comes this statement in verse 4: “He tells the number of the stars; he calls them all by their names.” I don't know which statement is more remarkable.