A richness of spiral galaxies

It’s all relative.

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The Hubble Picture of the Week shows several spiral galaxies. NGC 1356 is the large one on the right, and there are two smaller ones, LEDA 467699 and LEDA 95415, along with IC 1947 on the left. It might seem like NGC 1356 and the smaller galaxies are close together, but this can be deceiving. NGC 1356 and LEDA 95415 are quite far apart—about 300 million light-years.

NGC 1356 is about 550 million light-years from Earth, and the latter is roughly 840 million light-years away. That also means that LEDA 95415 is likely far from as much smaller than NGC 1356 as it appears to be.

Even though NGC 1356 and IC 1947 appear distant in the image, IC 1947 is relatively close, about 500 million light-years away. The apparent separation in the image is much smaller than the actual distance—they are much closer neighbors in three-dimensional space compared to NGC 1356 and LEDA 95415. This highlights how images can sometimes misrepresent the true distances between galaxies.

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