Hubble captures a hectic frame of overlapping spiral galaxies

This week's image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows galaxies overlapping each other in a complex spiral. Four main galaxies are shown in the image, three of which look like they are practically on top of each other, but not all are as it seems in this case.

The largest galaxy in the image on the right is NGC 1356, an elegant barred spiral galaxy similar to our own Milky Way. It is also known as the Great Barred Spiral Galaxy due to the prominence of its bar, a bright structure at the center of a star-studded galaxy. Two small spiral galaxies, LEDA 467699 and LEDA 95415, appear near this galaxy, and IC 1947 is on the left side of the image.

This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope contains a wealth of spiral galaxies: the large, prominent spiral galaxy on the right side of the image is NGC 1356; Two smaller spiral galaxies flank it, LEDA 467699 (above it) and LEDA 95415 (nearest to the left), respectively; Finally, IC 1947 sits on the left side of the image. ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Dalcanton, Dark Energy Survey/DOE/FNAL/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA; Thanks to: L. Shots

The tricky part of this image is that while the three galaxies on the right appear to be clustered together, the one on the left is further away, which is actually not the case. Two LEDA galaxies appear above NGC 1356, but they are millions of light-years apart and appear very close due to the angle at which we view them. They appear in the same sky as seen from Earth, but they are very different from us.

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On the other hand, isolated IC 1947 is actually much closer to the larger galaxy NGC 1356 on the right. They are less than 400,000 light-years apart, making them relatives in this nexus of the universe.

Hubble has taken similar earlier images of galaxies that appear to be on top of each other, but are located on top of each other but at different distances from Earth. It is not always easy to distinguish between these images and images in which galaxies are actually interacting with each other, although gravitational forces are a sign of interacting galaxies as they distort one or two galaxies as they approach each other.

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