Antennae


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.

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 ?
thou hast not perceived that subtle spider's web, stretched by destiny betwixt the light and thee--thou hast flung thyself headlong into it, and now thou art struggling with head broken and mangled wings between the iron antennae of fate!
The long pipes gave a simultaneous movement, like the antennae of startled insects, and every man present, not excepting even the sceptical farrier, had an impression that he saw, not Silas Marner in the flesh, but an apparition; for the door by which Silas had entered was hidden by the high-screened seats, and no one had noticed his approach.
"'Four membranous wings covered with little colored scales of metallic appearance; mouth forming a rolled proboscis, produced by an elongation of the jaws, upon the sides of which are found the rudiments of mandibles and downy palpi; the inferior wings retained to the superior by a stiff hair; antennae in the form of an elongated club, prismatic; abdomen pointed, The Death's -- headed Sphinx has occasioned much terror among the vulgar, at times, by the melancholy kind of cry which it utters, and the insignia of death which it wears upon its corslet.'"
Next follow those that are constructed for twilight; and, last of all, those destined for total darkness.' 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.
He had long, quivering fingers as agile and restless as the antennae of an insect.