Antennae


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Antennae

(an-ten -ee) (NGC 4038/9) A pair of interacting galaxies that are in the process of merging. They lie at a distance of only 22 megaparsecs and are thus the best-studied example of this phenomenon. They were normal galaxies before their interaction, but during their point of closest approach about 200 million years ago tides have drawn out two long curved tails, hence their popular name. The galaxies are currently turning around toward their final merger.
References in classic literature ?
He had long, quivering fingers as agile and restless as the antennae of an insect.
He was tall and thin and very handsome, with a grizzled beard; his gray hair was very curly, and even rose in front in two rebellious ringlets that seemed to the fanciful to tremble like the antennae of some giant insect, or to stir sympathetically with the restless tufted eyebrows over his rather haggard eyes.
On the agitation of his web, the enormous spider made an abrupt move from his central cell, then with one bound, rushed upon the fly, which he folded together with his fore antennae, while his hideous proboscis dug into the victim's bead.
Farebrother on the possible histories of creatures that converse compendiously with their antennae, and for aught we know may hold reformed parliaments; when suddenly some inarticulate little sounds were heard which called everybody's attention.
Its arms were fully as slender as its legs, and upon a rather long neck was perched its head -- not unlike the head of a man, except that its nose ended in a curling antenna, or "feeler," and its ears from the upper points bore antennae that decorated the sides of its head like two miniature, curling pig tails.
By the time that an animal had reached, after numberless generations, the deepest recesses, disuse will on this view have more or less perfectly obliterated its eyes, and natural selection will often have effected other changes, such as an increase in the length of the antennae or palpi, as a compensation for blindness.
At last, carefully examining with its antennae the now motionless spider, it proceeded to drag away the body.