Tuesday, October 4, 2011

This photo was released by ALMA which is a joint international project to build a vast array of millimeter/submillimeter radio telescopes in the Chilean Andes.  only 19 scopes are online but eventually the array will have an additional 66 telescopes by 2013.  the array will be 11 miles wide when complete.  The image shows 2 spiral galaxies colliding........they're called the Antennae galaxies because there are 2 massive plumes of material projecting from the nuclei that resemble the antennae of insects.  they are in the constellation The Crow (Corvus)[called . Nán Fāng Zhū Què or "The Vermillion Bird of the South" by the Chinese].   the thing that is truly humbling is this image is showing how the universe was.....the "light" used to "see" these colliding galaxies has taken more than 40 million years to reach the Earth.  pretty nifty....and kind of spooky as hell when you stop to think about it.  (it takes about 8 minutes for a ray of sunshine from our sun to reach Earth).