A Galactic Ballet

This image shows a pair of interacting galaxies known as Arp 271. Individually, these galaxies are named NGC 5426 and NGC 5427; both are spirals, and both are roughly the same size.

Some astronomers believe that these galaxies are in the process of merging to form a single entity. This interaction will create increasing numbers of new stars over the next few million years, some of which can be seen within the “bridge” of gas connecting the two galaxies. This kind of collision and interaction might also happen to our own galaxy, the Milky Way, which is likely to collide with the neighbouring Andromeda Galaxy in about five billion years time.

These galaxies lie over 120 million light years away from us, and were discovered by the German-British astronomer William Herschel in 1785. Herschel was a prolific scientist, also discovering both infrared radiation and the planet Uranus.

Link:

Previous release of the same galaxy pair: http://www.eso.org/public/images/potw1035a/

Credit:

ESO

About the Image

Id:potw2020a
Type:Observation
Release date:18 May 2020, 06:00
Size:1645 x 1439 px

About the Object

Name:Arp 271
Type:Early Universe : Galaxy : Type : Interacting
Distance:120 million light years
Constellation:Virgo
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
495.8 KB
Screensize JPEG
173.8 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
161.4 KB
1280x1024
274.1 KB
1600x1200
440.0 KB
1920x1200
459.0 KB
2048x1536
609.2 KB

Coordinates

Position (RA):14 3 24.83
Position (Dec):-6° 3' 37.83"
Field of view:6.91 x 6.05 arcminutes
Orientation:North is -0.0° left of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
b
440 nmVery Large Telescope
FORS2
Optical
g
470 nmVery Large Telescope
FORS2
Optical
I
768 nmVery Large Telescope
FORS2

 

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