NASA's Hubble Telescope captures a galactic merger
The Hubble Space Telescope has captured this spectacular image of spiral galaxy NGC 7714, which is 100 million light-years away from Earth, after it drifted too close to another galaxy. This interaction has resulted in a ‘twisting’ of the galaxies spiral ‘arms’, causing streams of material to be dragged into space and rapidly increasing star formation.
The two galaxies began to drift too close to each other around 100-200 million years ago, distorting and disrupting each other’s shapes. As a result of this, a ‘bridge’ was created between the galaxies, made up of a ring of stars. This bridge funnels material between the galaxies, triggering bright bursts of star formation.
**Please note, we have corrected the image provided by Eurekalert, who accidentally posted an image of the 'Hand of God' nebula (see below) in their initial press release.