Hubble Telescope Observes Surreal Galactic Collision
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Image: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Dark Energy Survey/DOE/FNAL/DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA, J. Dalcanton
The James Webb Space Telescope has gotten all the attention these days, but Hubble, which has been in space since 1990, continues to make stunning astronomical observations.
The latest Hubble image shows Arp-Madore 417-391, a galactic merger 670 million light-years from Earth. The celestial spectacle can be seen from the southern hemisphere in the constellation of Eridanus. As NASA explains, the "two galaxies were distorted by gravity and twisted into a colossal ring, causing their cores to lie side by side."
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An enlarged view of Arp-Madore 417-391.
The image was made possible by Hubble's built-in Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), which is designed to do just that kind of thing -- spotting distant, ancient galaxies. Hubble is expected to retire by the end of the decade, but NASA and SpaceX are currently hatching a plan to extend the life of the aging telescope.
More on this story: NASA and SpaceX are working to launch Hubble into a higher orbit
Astronomers are currently using Hubble as a scouting tool for the recently deployed James Webb Space Telescope, which has already produced some of the most stunning astronomical images we've ever seen. When Hubble isn't making pre-planned observations, it inspects some lesser-known galaxies, allowing astronomers to compile a list of interesting galaxies for Webb to make follow-up observations.
Arp-Madore 417-391 is one of many intriguing objects in the Arp-Madore Catalog, a collection that includes other interacting galaxies - including one with a distinctly face-like appearance.
More: Webb telescope reveals noxious atmosphere of a planet 700 light-years away
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