Optics: RC Optical System 20" F/8.2 (4165.6 mm Focal Length) Date: Nov-December 2008
Camera: SBIG ST10XME with Adaptive Optics Location: Columbus, Texas
Exposure: LRGB = 200:80:80:100 minutes Imager: Kent E. Biggs
This group of galaxies is likely in the process of merging. NGC 7771 (upper right) is interacting with 2 other visible galaxies. They will likely merge to form an even larger galaxy. It is also probable that NGC 7771 will eventually merge with NGC 7769 (lower left) to form a super galaxy of perhaps as many as a trillion stars. It may be surprising that even with all these billions stars merging into one galaxy, likely few if any stars will actually collide with each other due to the vast emptiness of space. Galactic mergers often cause star formation indicated by the red regions. Blue regions are hot young stars that have already formed. Below is the original black and white (luminance image) for comparison showing the dust regions over processed to show the amount of material that exists around these galaxies.