4038 and 4039,
a pair of interacting galaxies know as
"The Antennae Galaxies" or "The Mice."
filters, 60 seconds
Christopher's very first attempt at processing FITS files.
An extremely creditable attempt.
A composite image with noise reduction and image sharpening using Neat Image. The faint structure pointing vertically downwards in the lower left of the image is one the "tidal filaments" streaming out above and below this pair of colliding galaxies. These filaments may be made from streams of stars which have been ripped from the galaxies due to their gravitational interaction on one another.
Alan's first attempt at this pair of objects shows excellent noise reduction and great detail. The small pink regions where the two galaxies meet are regions of new star formation where gas clouds from the two galaxies have rammed into one another, triggering the birth of new stars. The pink colour is due to light being emitted from the clouds of hydregen gas which has been excited by the UV radiation produced by these new stars, very similar to what is happening in the Orion Nebula.
Alan has revisited this image and has darkened the background to make the tenuous outer parts of the galaxies stand out more.