A beautiful new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captures an ongoing collision between two massive galaxies.
The VV 689 system, also known as the Angel Wing, MCG+03-26-016, IRAS F09588+2002, and LEDA 29031, is located in the constellation of Leo.
“Unlike chance alignments of galaxies which only appear to overlap as seen from our vantage point on Earth, the two galaxies in VV 689 are in the midst of a collision,” Hubble astronomers said.
“The galactic interaction has left the VV 689 system almost completely symmetrical, giving the impression of a vast set of galactic wings.”
This image of VV 689 comes from a set of Hubble observations inspecting the highlights of the Galaxy Zoo project.
“This crowdsourced astronomy project relied on hundreds of thousands of volunteers to classify galaxies and help astronomers wade through a deluge of data from robotic telescopes,” the researchers explained.
“In the process, volunteers discovered a rogues’ gallery of weird and wonderful galaxy types, some of which had not previously been studied.”
“A similar, ongoing project called Radio Galaxy Zoo is using the same crowdsourcing approach to locate supermassive black holes in distant galaxies.”
“Noteworthy objects from both projects were chosen for detailed follow-up observations with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS),” they added.
“In keeping with the crowdsourced nature of the Galaxy Zoo project, the targets for follow-up observations with Hubble were chosen via roughly 18,000 votes cast by the public.”
“The selected targets include ring-shaped galaxies, unusual spirals, and a striking selection of galaxy mergers such as VV 689.”
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