Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Galactic Rose Highlights Hubble's 21st Anniversary

In celebration of the 21st anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope's deployment into space, astronomers pointed Hubble at an especially photogenic group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273.

This image, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows a group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273. The larger of the spiral galaxies, known as UGC 1810, has a disc that is tidally distorted into a rose-like shape by the gravitational pull of the companion galaxy below it, known as UGC 1813. The swathe 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.

read more