Taking a good look into deep space with a powerful telescope can reveal a lot of exciting wonders of our Cosmos, and it’s also acting like a cosmic time machine. The farther we look in space, the more we look back in time. Therefore, seeing for sure what happened thousands of years ago is entirely feasible, but too bad it happens only for the ‘big stuff’ in the Universe.
Two galaxies merging together is one of the most incredible sights someone can admire, and thanks to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, such a fabulous cosmic event is unfolding right before our eyes:
This is NGC 1614, and you’ll have to travel a huge distance by some means if you’re willing to be part of the galaxy merger: 200 million light-years.
Located in the constellation of Eridanus
NGC 1614 is one of the brightest objects from the local Universe, and it sits in the Eridanus constellation. But Milky Way will have pretty much the same fate as NGC 1614. Our own galaxy will merge with Andromeda in 4.5 billion years from now. That period of time means about a third of the total age of the Universe from the present. When the majestic event happens, the night sky as seen from Earth will be much more teeming with stars and other sparkling objects. Of course, there will hopefully be any intelligent beings left to admire it after 4.5 billion years.
NASA plans to replace Hubble in October 2021 with the James Webb Space Telescope. Packed with superior technology, Hubble’s successor will be observing extremely distant objects in the Universe. The formation of the first galaxies is targetted, and who knows what else can the new telescope find. The James Webb Space Telescope was initially scheduled for launch several years ago, but plenty of delays got in the way.