Wow! A great photo of the Antennae Galaxies from Ken Kattner at Putman Mountain Observatory in the Texas Hill Country. These are skies to stand up for!
Ken describes the photo: “The Antennae Galaxies are a pair of interacting galaxies in the constellation Corvus (also known as NGC 4038 and NGC 4039). The galaxies are undergoing a galactic collision and the nuclei of the galaxies are combining to become one larger galaxy. The long tails of gas, stars and dust ejected from the collision resemble an insect’s antennae giving the galaxies their name. Our own Milky Way Galaxy is predicted to collide with the Andromeda Galaxy in a similar collision in the distant future. The galaxies have a relatively young collection of globular clusters that were formed when the two galaxies collided about 600 million years ago. This is a difficult object to image because it is only above the horizon in the spring of each year and the star trails are very dim and require significant exposure. Due to these conditions, images of the galaxies were taken over a two year period and required a total of 16.25 hours of exposure.”