Picture of the Day: Arp 302 or VV 340, Two Colliding Galaxies

579141main_vv340_1920_full.jpg

NASA calls it the cosmic exclamation point because its glowing structure resembles that of the punctuation mark. Scientists know it, mostly, as VV 340 or Arp 302. Shown in this composite image with optical information provided by the Hubble Space Telescope (red, blue and green) and data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory (purple), VV 340 is actually made up of VV 340 North and VV 340 South, two colliding galaxies in the process of spinning into one another. Astronomers suspect that the two will merge million of years from now and they watch with fascination as they believe VV 340 provides a textbook example, one that will serve as a blueprint for how our own Milky Way will collide with Andromeda billions of years from now. VV 340 sits about 450 million light years away from us here on Earth.

View more Pictures of the Day.

Image: NASA.

Presented by

Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her middle school. Then Humans of New York told her story to the Internet—and everything changed.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

Video

What Fifty Shades Left Out

A straightforward guide to BDSM

More in Technology

Just In