National Geographic News

Merging Galaxies

Photograph courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI/Vassar

Two merging galaxies located 140 million light-years from Earth resemble a giant celestial mask in this false-color image. The ice-blue eyes are actually the galaxies' cores, and the mask is their spiral arms. The galaxies, called NGC 2207 and IC 2163, began their gravitational tango about 40 million years ago and will eventually meld into one.