Galaxy distorted by long-ago collision blazes in stunning Hubble photo

This Hubble Space Telescope, shows the strange galaxy NGC 3256. The milky way is about 100 million light-years from Earth and is the result of a past galactic merger, which created his distorted appearance. As such, NGC 3256 is an ideal target to investigate that are caused by galaxies.

(ESA/Hubble, NASA)

A deformed galaxy shines in a newly released picture captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.

The image shows NGC 3256, a galaxy roughly the same size as our own milky way Galaxy, which is located about 100 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Vela (Sails).

NGC 3256 is a strange, twisted form betrays its violent origins: The galaxy is the product of a collision between two spiral galaxies that astronomers think that happened about 500 million years ago. [The Hubble space Telescope is the Largest Discoveries]

“When two galaxies merge, individual stars rarely collide because they are separated by such enormous distances, but the gas and dust of the galaxies interact with each other — with spectacular results,” European Space Agency (ESA) officials wrote Thursday (May 31) in a description of the photo. (The Hubble mission is a collaboration between NASA and ESA.)

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“The brightness of the bloom in the center of NGC 3256 gives away her status as a powerful starburst galaxy, host of large quantities of baby stars are born in groups and clusters,” she added.

The galaxies that collided to form NGC 3256 probably harbored similar with that of the mass, because the attraction-of-war between the two seems to be a tie, ESA, the officials said. And the object in the current form did not last long; in a few hundred million years, the cores of the two original galaxies will merge, and NGC 3256 there will be a large elliptical galaxy.

Hubble is helping astronomers get a better understanding of the universe, and the exciting lay with her beautiful cosmic postcards, for more than a quarter of a century.

The iconic telescope is launched aboard the space shuttle Discovery in April 1990, but a slight defect in the primary mirror causes the first images are a bit blurry. Spacewalking astronauts fixed the problem in December 1993; further on-orbit repair, maintenance and upgrade of the work was carried out on four additional servicing missions between 1997 and 2009.

Hubble captured the newly released image using the Wide Field Camera 3 and the Advanced Camera for Surveys instruments, ESA officials said.

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