Hubble telescope captures three galaxies in epic photo

NASA shared a hypnotizing photo Friday that shows three galaxies all in one photo.

The photo was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, a joint effort by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).

The subject of this image is a group of three galaxies, collectively known as NGC 7764A. (Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Dalcanton, Dark Energy Survey, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Fermilab (FNAL), Dark Energy Survey Camera (DECam), Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), NoirLab/National Science Foundation/AURA, European Southern Observatory (ESO); Acknowledgment: J. Schmidt)

The first galaxy can be seen in the bottom of the photo, described by the European Space Agency as “bowling-ball-shaped.” Near the center of the photo, you can see the second galaxy, with its long tails stretching out from its center. Toward the top right is the third, orange-hued galaxy.

The three galaxies have been given the not-so-catchy combined name of “NGC 7764A.” They’re located about 425 million light-years from Earth.

The galaxies in the top right appear to be “interacting with one another,” the European Space Agency wrote in a post describing the photo.

“The long trails of stars and gas extending from them give the impression that they have both just been struck at great speed, thrown into disarray by the bowling-ball-shaped galaxy to the lower left of the image,” the ESA said. “It is also unclear whether the galaxy to the lower left is interacting with the other two, although they are so relatively close in space that it seems possible that they are.”

“Interacting with one another” doesn’t mean they’re smashing into each other at high speeds, the ESA said. “In reality, interactions between galaxies happen over very long time periods, and galaxies rarely collide head-on with one another.”

Even so, those slow interactions are shown by the wispy edges around the galaxies. The ESA mused it makes the galaxy in the top right look like the USS Enterprise from Star Trek. Do you see the resemblance?

NASA livestreams the Hubble Space Telescope’s view whenever it’s fixed on a target. You can check it out here.

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