Even galaxies can get locked in destructive relationships. 70 million light years from Earth in the direction of the Sextans constellation, the two cosmic behemoths pictured here are pulling each other apart, spiral arms fraying into sweeping tidal tails that stretch across the light years.

Like many bright galaxies in our corner of the cosmos, NGC 3169 (top) and NGC 3166 (bottom) are gravitationally bound to one another. A strong enough tug between two galaxies can result in their collision; an event that sends ripples across the fabric of spacetime. These two star-crossed lovers don’t seem in any danger of annihilating one another....yet. For now, they’re simply having a little a cosmic tug-of-war. It’s a strange and utterly beautiful sight.

[NASA APOD]


Image Credit & Copyright: Warren Keller, Steve Mazlin, Jack Harvey, Steve Menaker (SSRO/ UNC/PROMPT/ CTIO)