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May 23, 2022

See four dwarf galaxies merging into one in Hubble image

Posted by in category: space

An image from the Hubble Space Telescope shared this week by NASA shows an unusual interaction of four dwarf galaxies. There are two small galaxies which are so close together that they look like one object, called NGC 1,741, located at the top of the image. Then there is another cigar-shaped galaxy close by to the right, and a fourth galaxy in the bottom left which is connected to the other three by a stream of young stars.

Together, the four galaxies make up a set called the Hickson Compact Group 31, or HCG 31. The group is located 166 million light-years away from Earth, which is relatively close for seeing interacting dwarf galaxies. The galaxies are currently so close together, at within 75,000 light-years of each other, that all four of them would fit within the Milky Way.

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