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Antennae galaxies

NGC 4038 and 4039, also known as the Antennae galaxies. The long tails of luminous matter formed by the encounter resemble an insect's antennae.


A pair of interacting spiral galaxies


Found in the constellation Corvus in the Southern Hemisphere

Distance from Earth

63 million light-years


The distance between the centers of the galaxies (the orange areas in the Hubble image) is 30,000 light-years. The distance from tail to tail in the ground-based image is 350,000 light-years.

A ground-based view of NGC 4038/4039 (left) displays their distinctive antennae. The Hubble Space Telescope image (right) shows more than 1,000 brilliant star clusters at the heart of the collision.

Enlarge Image


"Fast Facts: Antennae galaxies" is a table lists the name, description, location, size and distance of this pair of colliding galaxies from Earth. A picture of the galaxies is included.

Printer-friendly web page
Adaptable, at teacher's discretion
How to use in the classroom

Use this resource as:

A source of information. Read the table to find out about this object.

A mapping activity. Locate the galaxy's associated constellation on a star map.

A large-number recognition activity. Have students study this table and other galaxy Fast Fact tables. Students can order objects based upon their distances from Earth.

An inquiry tool. Have students write down questions they would like answered about the image and the information in the Fast Facts table.

An engagement tool. Involve students in a discussion.

Related materials

HubbleSite press release: "Hubble Reveals Stellar Fireworks Accompanying Galaxy Collisions"

Amazing Space resources by topic: Galaxies