It's A Galactic Eclipse!

Illustration for article titled Its A Galactic Eclipse!

Call your astrologer! What does it mean when one galaxy passes in front of another? I'm guessing it means you'll find love, or spontaneous human combustion or something. Ground-based telescopes saw these overlapping galaxies as a single blob, but the Hubble Space Telescope was able to distinguish two different galaxies, a small one passing in front of a larger one, both about 780 million light years away. [Hubblesite]

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DISCUSSION

I hate to be picky... well, actually, I like to be picky... but "eclipse" wouldn't be the word, when the two celestial bodies are so disparate in apparent size.

If a much larger celestial body passes in front of a much smaller object, it's called an "occultation."

If a much smaller body passes in front of a much larger object, as in this case, it's called a "transit."