Distant Colliding Galaxies

A number of us here at UVic are involved in a study of distant galaxies. We have specifically targeted galaxies which are several billion light years away from us. In order to obtain detailed information about these galaxies, we have used the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, which is located on the top of Mauna Kea, on the Big Island of Hawaii. We have identified many thousands of galaxies. Following is a colour-composite of one of our images. To see more detail, please click on the image.

One of the many goals of this galaxy survey is to investigate the importance of galaxy collisions in the universe. Using these images, along with information obtained from taking spectra of about 5,000 galaxies, we have identified many cases of galaxies undergoing collisions. We find that galaxy collisions are more common in the distant universe than nearby. This means that collisions occurred more frequently when the universe was younger. This is due, in part, to the fact that the universe was more dense back then, and has been expanding ever since. Some images of these distant galaxy collisions follow.