Cartwheel Galaxy NASA Nebula

The galaxy was once a normal spiral galaxy before it apparently underwent a head-on collision with a smaller companion approximately 200 million years ago (i. e. , 200 million years prior to the image). When the nearby galaxy passed through the Cartwheel Galaxy, the force of the collision caused a powerful shock wave through the galaxy, like a rock being tossed into a sandbed. Moving at high speed, the shock wave swept up gas and dust, creating a starburst around the galaxy’s center portion that were unscathed. This explains the bluish ring around the center, brighter portion. It can be seen that the galaxy is beginning to retake the form of a normal spiral galaxy, with arms spreading out from a central core.