Hubble captures a cosmic interaction

It is rare to capture an image of two galaxies interacting in such a visibly dynamic way.


NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope snaps an image of an interacting galaxy pair in the Arp 282 system. The system is located almost 319 million light-years away in the constellation of Andromeda.

The galaxy pair includes a large spiral galaxy NGC 169 (bottom) and IC 1559 (top). Both galaxies have energetic, active galactic nuclei (AGN). However, it is quite difficult to tell from this image.

If the image revealed the full emission of both AGNs, their brilliance would obscure the beautifully detailed tidal interactions we see in this image.

Hubble astronomers said“Tidal forces occur when an object’s gravity causes another object to distort or stretch. The direction of tidal forces is away from the lower-mass object and toward the higher-mass object.”

Interaction between galaxies causes the gas, dust, and star systems to move toward one galaxy and away from the other. This process is revealed in action in the image: delicate streams of matter visibly link the two galaxies.

The way galaxies interact is an essential aspect of galaxy evolution Galaxies can merge, collide, or brush past one another – each interaction significantly affecting their shapes and structures.

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