Image of the week

Hubble Anniversary

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To commemorate the Hubble Space Telescope’s 19 years of historic, trail-blazing science, the orbiting telescope has photographed a peculiar system of galaxies known as Arp 194. This interacting group contains several galaxies, along with a ‘cosmic fountain’ of stars, gas and dust that stretches over 100,000 light years. This image of a trio of galaxies looks like one of the galaxies has sprung a leak. The bright blue streamer is really a stretched spiral arm full of new-born blue stars. This typically happens when two galaxies interact and gravitationally tug at each other. Resembling a pair of owl eyes, the two nuclei of the colliding galaxies can be seen in the process of merging at the upper left. The blue bridge looks like it connects with a third galaxy. In reality, the galaxy is in the background and not connected at all.