NASA reveals stunning image of galaxies colliding

NASA has revealed its own "festive lights", and they come from two galaxies that were imaged colliding together. Both NGC 2207 and IC 2163, located approximately 130 million light years from our planet in constellation Canis Major, are spiral galaxies that were caught getting close with each other. The result was exceptionally bright X-rays captured by different hardware and assembled into a single stunning composite image.

NASA released the image on Thursday, explaining that the two aforementioned galaxies are both spirals, as well as detailing the process that causes matter to fall towards either a neutron star or black hole. As it "falls", the matter becomes extremely heated and results in X-rays.

These ultraluminous X-ray sources — ULXs for short — are said to produce brighter X-rays than so-called normal X-ray binaries; this latest image represents approximately five times the observation time that went into previous ULX study efforts.

The composite image shows light data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope in what shows up as blue, white, orange, and brown, while it shows the Spitzer Space Telescope's infrared data in red and the Chandra data in pink. Those interested in the scientific aspects of the study can read all the details via the Cornell University Library, while those who are just in it for the image can view a higher-resolution version here.