The Hubble team has released an incredibly beautiful shot of IC 2431, a distant trio of merging galaxies located in the constellation of Cancer.
IC 2431 is a galaxy merger approximately 682 million light-years away in the constellation of Cancer.
Also known as LEDA 25476, Mrk 1224 or UGC 4756, it was discovered on February 24, 1896 by the French astronomer Stéphane Javelle.
“The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captured what appears to be a triple galaxy merger in progress, as well as a tumultuous mixture of star formation and tidal distortions caused by the gravitational interactions of this galactic trio,” Hubble astronomer said.
“The center of the image is obscured by a thick cloud of dust — though light from a background galaxy can be seen piercing its outer extremities.”
The image of IC 2431 is from a series of Hubble observations investigating weird and wonderful galaxies found by the Galaxy Zoo citizen science project.
“Using Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), astronomers took a closer look at some of the more unusual galaxies that volunteers had identified,” the researchers explained.
“The original Galaxy Zoo project was the largest galaxy census ever carried out, and relied on crowdsourcing time from more than 100,000 volunteers to classify 900,000 unexamined galaxies.”
“The project achieved what would have been years of work for a professional astronomer in only 175 days, and has led to a steady stream of similar astronomical citizen science projects.”
“Later Galaxy Zoo projects have included the largest ever studies of galaxy mergers and tidal dwarf galaxies, as well as the discovery of entirely new types of compact star-forming galaxies.”
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