A ‘Rose’ Made of Galaxies
In  celebration of the twenty-firstt anniversary of the Hubble Space  Telescope’s deployment in April 2011, astronomers at the Space Telescope  Science Institute pointed Hubble’s eye to an especially photogenic  group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273.  The larger of the  spiral galaxies, known as UGC 1810, has a disk that is tidally  distorted into a rose-like shape by the gravitational tidal pull of the  companion galaxy below it, known as UGC 1813. A swath of blue jewels  across the top is the combined light from clusters of intensely bright  and hot young blue stars. These massive stars glow fiercely in  ultraviolet light. The smaller, nearly edge-on companion shows  distinct signs of intense star formation at its nucleus, perhaps  triggered by the encounter with the companion galaxy. A series  of uncommon spiral patterns in the large galaxy is a tell-tale sign of  interaction. The large, outer arm appears partially as a ring, a feature  seen when interacting galaxies actually pass through one another. This  suggests that the smaller companion actually dived deep, but off-center,  through UGC 1810. The inner set of spiral arms is highly warped out of  the plane with one of the arms going behind the bulge and coming back  out the other side. How these two spiral patterns connect is still not  precisely known. The interaction was imaged on Dec. 17, 2010, with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). This Hubble image is a composite of data taken with three separate  filters on WFC3 that allow a broad range of wavelengths covering the  ultraviolet, blue and red portions of the spectrum.Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
NASA Image of the Day Gallery
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