‘Cosmic butterfly’ wings shimmer in the image of colliding galaxies

Astronomers at the Gemini North telescope in Hawai’i have released a stunning image showing two spiral galaxies about to collide and merge.

The clash galaxies NGC 4568 and NGC 4567 – also known as the Butterfly Galaxies because of the double-lobed shape their interaction causes – lie 60 million light-years away from Earth in the Virgo cluster and will form a brand new elliptical galaxy in about 500 million years, according to a statement from NOIRLab, which operates the Gemini North telescope.

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