‘Cosmic butterfly’ wings shimmer in image of colliding galaxies

Astronomers at the Gemini North telescope in Hawai’i have released a stunning image that shows two spiral galaxies in the process of colliding and merging.

The clashing galaxies NGC 4568 and NGC 4567 — also known as the Butterfly galaxies due to the dual-lobed shape their interaction causes — are located 60 million light-years away from Earth in the Virgo Cluster and will form a brand new elliptical galaxy in around 500 million years , according to a statement from NOIRLab, which operates the Gemini North telescope.

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