See that V in the sky, surrounded by galaxies? It’s uninspiring name is IC 2184 and it is one of the weirdest galaxies you will ever see. In fact, it’s still two galaxies, captured in the middle of a collision that will result in a completely new galactic shape a few million years from now.
The European Space Agency says that “both galaxies are seen almost edge-on” in this image. Their long tails make them appear elongated, as if it were two trains colliding with each other:
These tidal tails are thin, elongated streams of gas, dust and stars that extend away from a galaxy into space. They occur when galaxies gravitationally interact with one another, and material is sheared from the outer edges of each body and flung out into space in opposite directions, forming two tails.
Those bursts of bright blue are the regions that are already crashing. Yes, the universe is not a very welcoming place. [ESA Flickr]