Tumultuous Galactic Trio

The mass of dust and bright swirls of stars in this image are the distant galaxy merger IC 2431, which lies 681 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Cancer. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured what appears to be a triple galaxy merger in progress, as well as a tumultuous mixture of star formation and tidal distortions caused by the gravitational interactions of this galactic trio. The centre of this image is obscured by a thick cloud of dust — though light from a background galaxy can be seen piercing its outer extremities.  

This image is from a series of Hubble observations investigating weird and wonderful galaxies found by the Galaxy Zoo citizen science project. Using Hubble’s powerful Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), astronomers took a closer look at some of the more unusual galaxies that volunteers had identified. The original Galaxy Zoo project was the largest galaxy census ever carried out, and relied on crowdsourcing time from more than 100 000 volunteers to classify 900 000 unexamined galaxies. The project achieved what would have been years of work for a professional astronomer in only 175 days, and has led to a steady stream of similar astronomical citizen science projects. Later Galaxy Zoo projects have included the largest ever studies of galaxy mergers and tidal dwarf galaxies, as well as the discovery of entirely new types of compact star-forming galaxies.

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA, W. Keel, Dark Energy Survey, DOE, FNAL, DECam, CTIO, NOIRLab/NSF/AURA, SDSS
Acknowledgement: J. Schmidt

About the Image

Id:potw2207a
Type:Observation
Release date:14 February 2022, 06:00
Size:3187 x 1991 px

About the Object

Name:IC 2431
Constellation:Cancer
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
1.4 MB
Screensize JPEG
147.0 KB

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Wallpapers

1024x768
168.8 KB
1280x1024
299.9 KB
1600x1200
448.6 KB
1920x1200
534.9 KB
2048x1536
743.9 KB

Coordinates

Position (RA):9 4 35.06
Position (Dec):14° 35' 37.88"
Field of view:2.65 x 1.66 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 74.8° left of vertical


Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
u
354 nmSDSS
Optical
G
474 nmVíctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope
DECam
Optical
G
477 nmSDSS
Optical
R
623 nmSDSS
Optical
R
644 nmVíctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope
DECam
Optical
I
762 nmSDSS
Optical
Z
913 nmSDSS
Optical
Z
919 nmVíctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope
DECam
Optical
V
606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS

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