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Astronomy Picture of the Day

 

[1]

Shell Galaxies in Pisces
Image Credit & Copyright [2]: Stephen Leshin [3]

Explanation: This colorful cosmic skyscape [4] features a peculiar system of galaxies cataloged as [5] Arp 227 some 100 million light-years distant. Swimming within [6] the boundaries of the constellation Pisces [7], Arp 227 consists of the two galaxies prominent [8] on the left; the curious shell galaxy NGC 474 and its blue, spiral-armed neighbor NGC 470. The faint, wide arcs or shells of NGC 474 [9] could have been formed by a gravitational encounter with neighbor NGC 470. Alternately the shells could be caused by a merger [10] with a smaller galaxy producing an effect analogous to ripples across the surface of a pond. Remarkably, the large galaxy on the right hand side of the deep image, NGC 467, appears to be surrounded by faint shells too, evidence of another interacting [11] galaxy system. Intriguing background galaxies are scattered around the field that also includes spiky [12] foreground stars. Of course, those stars lie well within our own Milky Way Galaxy [13]. The field of view spans 25 arc minutes or about 1/2 degree on the sky [14].

 

 

 

 

Visit the NASA/JPL website to view more Astronomy Pictures of the Day [15]