Feuds between neighbors aren’t a pretty sight, especially when they involve galaxies. The image above shows 3C321, a system of two galaxies orbiting each other. Data collected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory shows that both galaxies have super massive black holes at their centers. The two galaxies are 20,000 light years apart, which is relatively close on the cosmic scale.
However, the larger galaxy’s central black hole is in the process of obliterating its neighbor by emitting a jet of high-energy X-rays and gamma rays that is tearing through the smaller galaxy. Traveling at nearly the speed of light, these supercharged particles would be deadly to any planets in their way. Their atmospheres would be completely stripped by the radiation and high-energy particles combination.
While jet-spewing black holes are not a rare sight, this is the only case of one destroying a neighboring galaxy. According to astrophysicists, this destruction would ultimately lead to creation as the influx of energy could trigger the formation of new stars and planets once the two galaxies drift farther away from each other.
However, the outcome of this battle was decided long ago as the galaxy system is located 1.4 billion light years away from Earth.