SCIENCE
12/17/2014 02:40 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Colliding Galaxies Mount 'Spectacular Light Show' In New NASA Image

Just in time for the holidays, NASA has released a new photo showing a spectacular light show created by a pair of merging galaxies 130 million light-years from Earth.

The photo is a composite image of the spiral galaxies NGC 2207 and IC 2163, located in the constellation Canis Major.

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merging galaxies
Spiral galaxies NGC 2207 and IC 2163.

The image is a mash-up of X-rays captured by NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory (shown in pink), visible light data from the Hubble Space Telescope (shown in red, green, and blue), and infrared data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope (shown in red).

What makes NGC 2207 and IC 2163 look so dazzling? Together, the galaxies are home to 28 separate "ultraluminous" X-ray sources. The X-rays they produce are more intense than those produced by most star systems.

NGC 2207 and IC 2163 were discovered by English astronomer John Herschel in 1835.

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