back to article Herschel Space Observatory spots galaxies merging

The European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory has beamed home pictures of two galaxies inexorably moving towards each other and boffins offered simulations of what happens next. The galaxies concerned are known as HXMM01, the name given to a bright spot in the sky. Closer examination of HXMM01 tells us it is very old …


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  1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Maybe it shows the Star Wars Galaxy being acquired by the Disney galaxy?

    You saw it on El Reg first!!

  2. Winkypop Silver badge

    Intergalactic give way

    Is it give way to the right, or to the left?

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Intergalactic give way

      Probably the same as the unofficial rule of the road:

      Give way to whoever's biggest.

      You can argue about whether a car had priority until you're blue in the face. The fact is that if you pull out in front of bus/lorry then you'll be lucky to be having the argument at all. Which is why I'm always astounded that motorbikes take such risks.

      Avoid having the accident. Then it doesn't matter whose fault it was. :-)

    2. harmjschoonhoven

      Re: Give way to whoever's biggest.

      Galaxies do not have to give way. They just attract each other - gravity you know - and merge.

      Cars, other vehicles and pedestrians get their shape from electromagnetic forces and do not merge.

      1. Bill Neal

        Re: Give way to whoever's biggest.

        So what we used to call collisions, were now calling mergers?

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Intergalactic give way

      In certain places here on Earth it's the loudest horn which has right of way, but in the vacuum of space that's not much of an option.

  3. frank ly

    They were young and beautiful .....

    ..... and we enjoyed watching them dance. Then they got married and settled down. Does boredom increase along with entropy?

  4. Mike Bell

    That video is too fast

    Like trying to watch the intricacies of a splashing water droplet in real time.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: That video is too fast

      Hear Hear - they should release a simple app so that you can run it at home in your own time.

      Actually I'd love to look at the code.

      1. Fortycoats

        Re: That video is too fast

        Well I don't know about an app, but there is a program called Universe Sandbox which does something like that. The basic version is free.

        1. TheOtherHobbes

          Re: That video is too fast

          You should see what the paid-for version does.

          1. Mad Chaz

            Re: That video is too fast

            And it's incredibly cheap to get on steam.

  5. Stoneshop Silver badge


    A long time ago in a galaxytwo galaxies far, far, away.

  6. Graham Marsden

    When I watched that video...

    ... I imagined the two galaxies going "Whoohooo!" and "Wheee...!!!"

  7. evilbob thebob

    I did my undergad project on this stuff

    It's quite remarkable just how many galaxies are merging in the distant universe. The IR data from Herschel makes them really easy to spot, because all the dust gets heated by merger-induced star formation. ~20% of galaxies that have IR signatures are merging, which results in some really nice images in the optical region from Hubble.

  8. TeeCee Gold badge

    Video link.

    Goes to a page that says "YouTube Comedy Week" at the top.

    Presumably there are many trillions of aliens failing to see the funny side.....

  9. Ye Gads

    That explains

    The tremor in the force I felt earlier...

  10. Radium
    Thumb Up

    The Universe is Awesome

    I just find it amazing that:-

    1) This happened at Big Bang + 6 billion years

    2) We're at Big Bang + 14 billion years

    3) Right now, those galaxies have got married, had kids, got divorced and quite possibly died.

    4) We're watching their first date

  11. d3rrial


    Isn't Herschel supposed to be dead, because its coolant supply ran out?

  12. Dave Lawton


    And there was me hoping for a quote from Mentor :(

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