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NGC 4038 and NGC 4039 – A Spectacular Collision

This Hubble Telescope image from 2004 shows a spectacular collision between two galaxies – NGC 4038 and NGC 4039.  This collision has created huge disruptions in both galaxies and has caused a phenomenon called “starburst” which causes stars to be formed at an unusually fast rate and is the cause of the areas of vivid red and blue seen in this image.

Here is a link to the Hubble Space Telescope news release with additional information about this image data: https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1345a/

This color image was created from monochrome data from the Hubble’s ACS and WFC camera packages and from four filters – the 814w filter [~700 nanometers to ~1000 nanometers] which is deep red and into the infrared range, the 658n narrowband filter which captures nitrogen II and hydrogen alpha emissions, the 550m filter [a medium band filter which captures light in the 500nm to 600nm wavelength range], and the 435w filter [ ~375nm to ~450nm].  The 814w filter and the 658n filter data were combined in Pixinsight using the PixelMath  “max” function.  The combined 814w/658n image, the 550m filtered image and the 435w filtered image were color mapped to red, green and blue respectively to create a color image.

The original data that I used can be found at the Hubble Legacy Archive.  Just search for NGC 4038.  The four filtered channels were collected in 2004 with the “ACS/WFC” instrument package so you can find the data that way.

Initial processing for the color image was done in PixInsight using MultiscaleLinearTransform for noise attenuation and then HistogramTransformation.  Final color adjustments were done with Photoshop.

Here is a link with a little more information on how I process the Hubble images displayed on my site.

Click on the image below for a higher resolution view.

NGC 4038 and NGC4039 – Colliding Galaxies
Posted in Galaxies, Hubble Telescope Image

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