Hubble Inspects A Pair of Space Oddities

This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows two of the galaxies in the galactic triplet Arp 248 — also known as Wild's Triplet — which lies around 200 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Virgo. The two large spiral galaxies visible in this image — which flank a smaller, unrelated background spiral galaxy — seem to be connected by a luminous bridge. This elongated stream of stars and interstellar dust is known as a tidal tail, and it was formed by the mutual gravitational attraction of the two foreground galaxies.

This observation comes from a project which delves into two rogues’ galleries of weird and wonderful galaxies: A Catalogue Of Southern Peculiar Galaxies And Associations, compiled by astronomers Halton Arp and Barry Madore, and the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, compiled by Halton Arp. Each collection contains a menagerie of spectacularly peculiar galaxies, including interacting galaxies such as Arp 248, as well as one- or three-armed spiral galaxies, galaxies with shell-like structures, and a variety of other space oddities.

Hubble used its Advanced Camera for Surveys to scour this menagerie of eccentric galaxies in search of promising candidates for future observations with the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, and Hubble itself. With such a wealth of astronomical objects to study in the night sky, projects such as this, which guide future observations, are a valuable investment of observing time. As well as the scientific merits of observing these weird and wonderful galaxies, they were also — very unusually — selected as Hubble targets because of their visual appeal to the general public!

[Image description: Two spiral galaxies are viewed almost face-on; they are a mix of pale blue and yellow in colour, crossed by strands of dark red dust. They lie in the upper-left and lower-right corners. A long, faint streak of pale blue joins them, extending from an arm of one galaxy and crossing the field diagonally. A small spiral galaxy, orange in colour, is visible edge-on, left of the lower galaxy.]

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Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA, Dark Energy Survey/DOE/FNAL/DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA, J. Dalcanton

About the Image

Id:potw2244a
Type:Observation
Release date:31 October 2022, 06:00
Size:3623 x 3999 px

About the Object

Name:Arp 248
Constellation:Virgo
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
3.6 MB
Screensize JPEG
254.9 KB

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182.5 KB
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Coordinates

Position (RA):11 46 40.80
Position (Dec):-3° 51' 9.14"
Field of view:3.02 x 3.34 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 33.3° right of vertical


Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
G
474 nmVíctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope
DECam
Optical
R
644 nmVíctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope
DECam
Optical
Z
919 nmVíctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope
DECam
Optical
V
606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS

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