Dear Universe: You've really outdone yourself with this impressive, dynamic light display of NGC 2207 and IC 2163 colliding 130 million light years away. Thank you.

Composite image of NGC 2207 and IC 2163 collision. Click for massive version. Image credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/S.Mineo et al [X-ray]; NASA/STScI [optical]; NASA/JPL-Caltech [infrared]

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The composite image layers data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory (x-rays in pink), the Hubble Space Telescope (optical light, with red, green and blue light mapped to blue, white, orange, and brown), and the Spitzer Space Telescope (infrared in red).

X-ray image of NGC 2207 and IC 2163 collision. Image credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/S.Mineo et al

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This collision is a rich space for supernova, generating three in the past fifteen years. It's also the home of a truly astonishing number of known as ultraluminous X-ray sources (UXLs). While UXLs are a bit mysterious: we think they're binary systems where stars feed neutron stars or black holes, but that's still subject to more research and confirmation. So far, 28 UXLs have been identified in the colliding galaxies, mostly in the spiral arms and under 10 million years old.

Infrared image of NGC 2207 and IC 2163 collision. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The region isn't just rich in UXLs: shockwaves from the collision are collapsing clouds of gas and dust, spurring star formation. Stars of assorted masses are spawning fast: as the NASA press release explains,

[A]nalysis shows that stars of various masses are forming in this galaxy pair at a rate equivalent to form 24 stars the mass of our sun per year. In comparison, a galaxy like our Milky Way is expected to spawn new stars at a rate equivalent to only about one to three new suns every year.

Optical image of NGC 2207 and IC 2163 collision. Image credit: NASA/STScI

You can read more about it in A comprehensive X-ray and multiwavelength study of the Colliding Galaxy Pair NGC2207/IC2163.