Galaxies appear to be interacting with one another in image captured by Hubble
- United States
The European Space Agency (ESA) has shared a new picture captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope that features a group of three galaxies, collectively known as NGC 7764A, that lie about 425 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Phoenix.
These galaxies are individually referred to as NGC 7764A1, NGC 7764A2 and NGC 7764A3. As described by the ESA, the two galaxies in the upper right of the image appear to be interacting with one another to form a shape, which from our Solar System's perspective, resembles USS Enterprise, a starship in the Star Trek media franchise.
The long trails of stars and gas extending from the two galaxies both give the impression that they have both just been struck at great speed, thrown into disarray by the bowling-ball-shaped galaxy to the lower left of the image.
1/ Our latest Picture of the Week might make you want to shout: "STRIKE!" It features a group of three galaxies, collectively known as NGC 7764A. Can you spot the similarities with a bowling-themed snapshot? 🔗 https://t.co/Jar0Dvg5uy pic.twitter.com/p5bR6IFkaU— HUBBLE (@HUBBLE_space) January 24, 2022
According to ESA, interactions between galaxies happen over very long time periods, and galaxies rarely collide head-on with one another.
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope was launched and deployed by the space shuttle Discovery in 1990. The mission is an international cooperation between the European Space Agency and U.S. space agency NASA. The observatory recently completed one billion seconds of operation in space.