NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured the imagination of the distant galaxy merger IC 2431. It appears to be a triple galaxy merger in progress and a turbulent mix of star formation and tidal distortions caused by the gravitational interactions of this galactic trio.
Located almost 681 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Cancer, the IC 2431 is also known as LEDA 25476, Mrk 1224, or UGC 4756. The image shows the mass of dust and bright swirls of stars.
NASA noted in their blog, “A thick cloud of dust obscures the center of this image – though the light from a background galaxy is piercing its outer extremities.”
“This image is from a series of Hubble observations investigating weird and wonderful galaxies found by the Galaxy Zoo citizen science project.”