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New Hubble photo captures a rare galactic phenomenon

Published Feb 1st, 2022 2:13PM EST
up close view of hubble telescope
Image: NASA

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The Hubble Space Telescope has returned yet another delightful look at space. The latest subject is a group of three galaxies, which astronomers refer to as NGC 7764A. Hubble captured the image of the galaxies using its Advanced Camera for Surveys as well as its Wide Field Camera 3. This newest Hubble telescope picture gives us a great look at the galaxies.

Even more intriguing, though, is two of them appear to be interacting with each other.

Two galaxies could be merging in new Hubble telescope picture

three galaxies interacting together in hubble telescope pictureImage source: ESA/Hubble & NASA

NGC 7764A is located roughly 425 million light-years from Earth. It’s found in the Phoenix constellation, and it’s a perfect example of just how weird space can get sometimes. It’s easy to think of galaxies and see them as individual things that never interact with each other. However, that isn’t always the case. Based on this new Hubble telescope picture, it looks like two of the galaxies are merging together.

In the image, it looks like the two galaxies at the top have slammed into each other, with the tail of one even shifting towards the topmost galaxy. The European Space Agency (ESA) says that in reality, the interactions between galaxies aren’t quick at all. Instead, they take a very long time and galaxies rarely collide head-on with each other. The image also includes a third galaxy, which the ESA says it is unsure is interacting with the other two. It is, however, close enough to be pulled in by the gravitational pull of the others.

Giving us a better look at the universe beyond our planet

galaxiesImage source: ESA/Hubble & NASA, F. Pacaud, D. Coe

This latest Hubble telescope picture is just one of countless images the telescope has returned since its launch. In fact, the Hubble telescope has been orbiting the Earth since April 1990. It orbits in what NASA and the ESA call a low earth orbit. This has allowed us to continue maintenance on the telescope. In return, that has allowed us to capture more images of fantastic interactions like this one.

In the past, we’ve seen beautiful photos of the Orion Nebula. We’ve also been given Hubble telescope pictures of individual galaxies. That’s all given us a broader view of the universe surrounding us. There’s a lot we don’t know about this newest Hubble telescope picture. But it does give us a unique look at three far-off galaxies, and it will be interesting to see what future photos of the area show us.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.