Colliding galaxies

Merging galaxies

The string of amazing galaxy images coming from the Hubble Space Telescope continues. The photo to the right, cropped and reduced to post here, was released today and shows an object dubbed VV-689 that is believed to be two galaxies in the process of colliding and merging.

The angelic image comes from a set of Hubble observations that took a closer look at “Zoo Gems,” interesting galaxies from the Galaxy Zoo citizen science project. This crowdsourced program relies on hundreds of thousands of volunteers to classify galaxies and help astronomers wade through a deluge of data from robotic telescopes. In the process, volunteers discovered a gallery of weird and wonderful galaxy types, some not previously studied.

This image will lay the groundwork for more detailed research. Right now it appears no one has even estimated its distance.