This strange-looking galaxy appears to be a spiral galaxy with a long tidal bar extending outward. This is known as Arp 122 and is actually not one galaxy, but two separate galaxies. NGC 6040 is a curved spiral galaxy that we can see with the naked eye, while LEDA 59642 is a round spiral galaxy. The two collide about 540 million light-years from Earth, providing a preview of a future collision between the Milky Way and Andromeda.
What will Arp 122 look like when the merger is complete? the The universe today According to the current merger, the merger will take hundreds of millions of years, so be patient.
Although galaxy mergers are incredibly dramatic events, they happen very slowly due to their enormous scale. But still, even a slow-motion collision can create chaos and grandeur. Star formation begins to accelerate as a result of colliding clouds of gas and intense gravitational interactions. Merged galaxies can shine up to ten times brighter than individual galaxies. Over time, this completely changes the structure of the two (or more) colliding galaxies, creating a single merging galaxy.
Collisions can also create very striking features, called tidal lines, like the one seen in Arp 122. Other features that look like wrinkles may also develop. This is similar to the way waves are created when you throw a stone into a lake. Astronomers have learned how to interpret different features to learn more about the parent galaxies and their collisions.
That's why there's no need to worry about a collision between the Milky Way and its closest galactic neighbour, the Andromeda Galaxy. Because we have to wait at least another four billion years for them to meet.