A stunning NASA video takes viewers through deep space to experience different galaxies.
The minute-and-a-half-long visualization was created using scientific data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.
NASA released the video, which takes viewers on an interstellar trip to five different galaxies on Hubble’s 32nd birthday in April.
The collection of five galaxies highlighted in the clip is called Hickson Compact Group 40.
Located about 300 million light-years away in the constellation Hydra, the cluster consists of three spiral galaxies, an elliptical galaxy, and a lenticular galaxy.
At the beginning of the video, NASA positions Hickson Compact Group 40 in their respective constellations.
The video is then zoomed into the isolated sky populated by the group’s five galaxies.
Finally, it shows flybys of each galaxy in the cluster, illustrating how they are positioned relative to each other.
In addition to the interactive video, NASA recently shared an exciting image of five galaxies that are unusually close.
“Somehow, these different galaxies intersected with each other during their evolution, creating an extraordinarily crowded and eclectic sampler of galaxies,” NASA wrote on its Hubble website.
“Immersed in a leisurely gravitational dance, the entire group is so crowded that it can fit in a region of space less than twice the diameter of our Milky Way galaxy’s disk.”
Another startling fact about these five galaxies is that in about a billion years, they will all merge to form one giant elliptical galaxy.
NASA said the Hubble snapshot (see above) captured a very “special moment” in the life of a galaxy.
While clusters of galaxies are not uncommon, they are usually located in the centers of larger galaxy clusters.
However, NASA notes that these galaxies are “clearly isolated in their own little universe.”
One potential reason for this anomaly is the abundance of dark matter in the region.
“If they are close together, the dark matter forms a large cloud in which the galaxies orbit,” NASA officials explained.
“As galaxies pass through dark matter, they experience drag due to its gravitational effects. This slows their motion and causes the galaxies to lose energy, so they fall together.”
Astronomers have observed Hickson Compact Group 40 not only in visible light, but also in radio, infrared and X-ray wavelengths.
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