Time for a cosmic boo.
Two galaxies have crashed in space, and the event has created a ghostly image that’s likely bigger than all the ghosts here on earth.
The collision happened in the Arp-Madore 2026-424 (AM 2026-424) system, which is 704 million light years from Earth.
NASA, the European Space Agency and Space Telescope Science Institute, which operate the Hubble Space Telescope, spotted the massive ring in space and photographed it on June 19.
NASA has pulled this stuff in the past – posting ghostly images just in time for Halloween. We see you, Hubble, and we know what you’re doing.
It sounds like this ring galaxy is only around for a limited time. They’ll eventually merge, leaving the ghostly face behind.
According to the ESA: “Ring galaxies are rare, and only a few hundred of them reside in our larger cosmic neighborhood. The galaxies have to collide at just the right orientation so that they interact to create the ring, and before long they will have merged completely, hiding their messy past.”
The ESA explained the phenomenon.
“The crash has pulled and stretched the galaxies’ discs of gas, dust, and stars outward, forming the ring of intense star formation that shapes the “nose” and “face” features of the system.”
It will stick around for about 100 million years, then merge in 1 billion to 2 billion years.