groups of galaxies, now appropriately called Hickson Compact Groups (HCGs). This sharp Hubble image shows one such galaxy group, HCG 90, in startling detail. Three galaxies -- two visible here -- are revealed to be strongly interacting: a dusty spiral galaxy stretched and distorted in the image center, and two large elliptical galaxies. The close encounter will trigger furious star formation. On a cosmic timescale, the gravitational tug of war will eventually result in the merger of the trio into a large single galaxy. The merger process is now understood to be a normal part of the evolution of galaxies, including our own Milky Way. HCG 90 lies about 100 million light-years away toward the constellation of the Southern Fish (Piscis Austrinus). This Hubble view spans about 40,000 light-years at that estimated distance. Of course, Hickson Compact Groups also make for rewarding viewing for Earth-bound astronomers with more modest sized telescopes.
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& Michigan Tech. U.
Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day
Publications with keywords: group of galaxies - interacting galaxies
Publications with words: group of galaxies - interacting galaxies