By Randy Gener

Dublin by Night

NASA IMAGE OF THE DAY | Hubble Spots Two Interacting Galaxies Defying Cosmic Convention
This photo was capture by Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA.
Image Credit: ESA/NASA
Last Updated: March 17, 2017

LIGHT YEARS AWAY | Where do you #SpotHubble? Some galaxies are harder to classify than others. Here, Hubble’s trusty Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) has captured a striking view of two interacting galaxies located some 60 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). The more diffuse and patchy blue glow covering the right side of the frame is known as NGC 3447 — sometimes NGC 3447B for clarity, as the name NGC 3447 can apply to the overall duo. The smaller clump to the upper left is known as NGC 3447A.

Hubble Space Telescope is more than a scientific tool — it’s a cultural icon. Since its launch in 1990, Hubble’s mind-blowing images have changed our understanding of our universe, but also changed where we see glimpses of our universe in everyday life.

Overall, we know NGC 3447 comprises a couple of interacting galaxies, but we’re unsure what each looked like before they began to tear one another apart. The two sit so close that they are strongly influenced and distorted by the gravitational forces between them, causing the galaxies to twist themselves into the unusual and unique shapes seen here. NGC 3447A appears to display the remnants of a central bar structure and some disrupted spiral arms, both properties characteristic of certain spiral galaxies. Some identify NGC 3447B as a former spiral galaxy, while others categorize it as being an irregular galaxy.

 


Hubble’s Frisbee Galaxy | a section of NGC 1448, a spiral galaxy located about 50 million light-years from Earth in the little-known constellation of Horologium (The Pendulum Clock)
Image Credit: ESA/NASA
Last Updated: March 17, 2017

 

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