NASA has shared a stunning new image of two nearby galaxies that, due to their close proximity, resemble what the space agency calls the Greater Pumpkin. Officially known as NGC 2292 and NGC 2293, these galaxies are home to old red stars glowing brightly above a cluster of newborn stars spread out to form a crooked ‘smile.’
The image comes from the Hubble Space Telescope, with NASA noting that the galaxies are located around 120 million light-years from the constellation Canis Major. NASA says that each of the ‘eyes’ visible in the image are galaxy cores filled with stars; each of the galaxies is home to supermassive black holes, as well.
The color, as presented in the photo, is an orange hue framed by the dim blue light from the long star clusters. The stars are clustered around the supermassive black holes, NASA explains, and the two galaxies are colliding with each other.
The strand of young star clusters could be slowly rebuilding a spiral galaxy; it is likely the result of compressed interstellar gas resulting from the nearby galaxies colliding. According to NASA researchers, the formation we see above may one day form a ‘giant luminous spiral galaxy’ with a diameter far greater than that of the Milky Way.
NASA, of course, offers a high-resolution version of this image for the public to download — it can be found here, while the video showing off the galaxy can be downloaded from NASA’s Goddard Media Studios website here.