Hubble explores galactic wings

(ORDO NEWS) — This image, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows two merging galaxies in the VV-689 system, nicknamed Angelwing.

Unlike the random alignment of galaxies, which only appear to overlap when viewed from our vantage point on Earth, two galaxies in the VV-689 system are in the process of colliding.

As a result of galactic interaction, the VV-689 system became almost completely symmetrical, giving the impression of a huge set of galactic wings.

The angelic image is the result of a series of Hubble observations that provide a close look at this “pearl of the zoo” – interesting galaxies from the civil science project Galaxy Zoo.

This crowdsourced program relies on hundreds of thousands of volunteers who classify galaxies and help astronomers navigate through a flood of data coming from robotic telescopes.

In the process, the volunteers discovered a whole gallery of strange and amazing types of galaxies, some of which have not been previously studied.

A similar project called Radio Galaxy Zoo uses the same crowdsourced approach to search for supermassive black holes in distant galaxies.

The Hubble Advanced Observation Camera made detailed observations of noteworthy objects from both projects.

In keeping with Galaxy Zoo’s crowdsourcing principle, the public voted on 18,000 objects for future Hubble observations. Among the selected objects are ring galaxies, unusual spirals and a striking selection of galaxy mergers such as VV-689.

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