These two galaxies are in their first brush of interaction. Both are relatively undisturbed-looking, but studies have shown them to be physically overlapping with intense star formation at their interface. This means over the coming millions of years, these stars will be strewn all about intergalactic space as gravitational forces slowly tear existing structures apart and begin a process of merger. Often this creates “tidal tails”, or streams of stars, bridging and looping around the pair as they slowly coalesce into a single galaxy.
Our own Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy have this to look forward to in a couple billion years!
Enjoy! I loved the delicate flocculent texture of this pair, and the background is full of some nice surprises, too. NGC4567 and 4568 are the main galaxies for anyone wanting to look them up.
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