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Galactic Gathering Gives Sparkling Light Display
Sig14 030

Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/STScI/JPL-Caltech

Observation • December 12th, 2014 • sig14-030


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.

About the Object

NGC 2207
Galaxy > Grouping > Pair
Galaxy > Activity > Starburst
130,000,000 Light Years

Color Mapping

Band Wavelength Telescope
Infrared 8.0 ┬Ám Spitzer IRAC
Optical 814 nm Hubble WFPC2
Optical 555 nm Hubble WFPC2
Optical 439 nm Hubble WFPC2
X-ray 1.5 keV Chandra ACIS


Position (J2000)
RA =6h 16m 25.2s
Dec = -21° 22' 30.4"
Field of View
4.8 x 2.3 arcminutes
North is 12.2° right of vertical