Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters often joke about being the “baddest” thing in the galaxy — but an epic NASA image of star systems locked in combat proves that the title is more befitting of the galaxy itself.
The photo — captured via the Hubble telescope — depicts the upper galaxy, dubbed UGC 1810, engaged in a “titanic battle” with multiple star systems.
When engaged in this intergalactic grappling match, the star system is known as Arp 273, which is located 300 million light-years away in the neighborhood of the Andromeda constellation, according to NASA’s website.
Unsurprisingly, UGC 1810 bears multiple battle scars from its “wild and violent gravitational interactions,” NASA reports. The most evident war wound is the star system’s blue outer ring that’s formed by “massive stars that are ‘blue hot’ and have formed only in the past few million years.”
By contrast, the galaxy’s inner ring — which is an older spiral galaxy itself — appears redder and therefore paradoxically cooler (much like the discrepancy between blue and red flames on your stovetop). This inner ring is also interwoven with cooler filamentary sediment.
It’s unknown what sparked the interstellar showdown — but NASA predicts that the scrappy star system will “devour its galactic sidekicks over the next billion years.”
The galaxy will then adopt a more “peaceful,” spiral form like our own Milky Way, NASA says. Our neighborhood star system proved it was no slouch itself after a black hole flung a star out of the galaxy, astronomer Douglas Boubert reported last week.
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