Hubble captures a pair of interacting galaxies

(ORDO NEWS) — The two interacting galaxies that make up the pair known as Arp-Madore 608-333 appear to be swimming side by side in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image.

Although they appear serene and unruffled, they warp each other slightly through a gravitational interaction that destroys and distorts both galaxies.

Arp-Madore 608-333 is part of a program to create an archive of interesting objects for more detailed future study using Hubble, ground-based telescopes and the James Webb Space Telescope.

To create this archive, scientists scanned existing astronomical catalogs looking for targets scattered across the night sky.

They hoped to include objects already identified as interesting, and which would be easy for Hubble to observe no matter where it was pointed.

Deciding how to allocate Hubble observation time is a long and complex process, and observations are allocated in such a way as to use every second of available Hubble time.

However, there is a small amount of time that goes unused as the Hubble turns to observe new targets.

Snapshot programs such as the one that captured Arp-Madore 608-333 exist to fill this gap by taking advantage of the moments between longer observations.

Snapshot programs not only create beautiful images, they allow astronomers to collect as much data as possible using Hubble.

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