(ORDO NEWS) — This image shows a group of galaxies collectively known as NGC 7764A. They were captured using NASA/ESA’s NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3.
The two galaxies at the top right of the image show signs of interacting with each other. The long streams of stars and gas stretching from these galaxies give the impression that the galaxies were recently hit by a bowling ball-shaped “projectile” similar to the one at the bottom left of the image.
In reality, interactions between galaxies occur over very long time spans, and galaxies rarely experience direct, head-on collisions with each other.
In addition, it is not known for sure whether the galaxy in the lower left part of the image is interacting with the other two galaxies, although they are located in outer space so close to each other that this becomes quite possible.
Coincidentally, the group interaction between these galaxies causes the upper right two galaxies to form a structure reminiscent of the USS Enterprise from the Star Trek movie series!
The NGC 7764A group of galaxies, which lies about 425 million light-years from Earth in the direction of the Phoenix constellation, is an amazing example of how clumsy astronomical nomenclature can be. These three galaxies are individually named NGC 7764A1, NGC 7764A2, and NGC 7764A3, respectively.
However, this seemingly arbitrary system of naming galaxies makes more sense when you consider that astronomical catalogs were compiled over 100 years ago, long before modern technology made it easier to standardize scientific terminology.
Therefore, many astronomical objects may have several different names, or names that are so similar to the names of other objects that they can cause confusion.
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