Galactic Gathering Gives Sparkling Light Display
At this time of year, holiday parties often include festive lights. When galaxies get together, they also may be surrounded by a spectacular light show. That's the case with NGC 2207 and IC 2163, which are located about 130 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Canis Major.
This pair of spiral galaxies has been caught in a grazing encounter. NGC 2207 and IC 2163 have hosted three supernova explosions in the past 15 years and have produced one of the most bountiful collections of super-bright X-ray lights known. These special objects -- known as "ultraluminous X-ray sources" (ULXs) -- have been found using data from NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory.
This composite image of NGC 2207 and IC 2163 contains Chandra data in pink, optical-light data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope visible-light data in blue, white, orange and brown, and infrared data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope in red.
More information about the image is online at: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2014/ngc2207