Two Galaxies Make Strange Traveling Pair, but Do They Interact?

Two Galaxies Make Strange Traveling Pair, but Do They Interact?

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An unusual pair of galaxies travel through the interstellar cosmos in this striking image obtained by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The unusual pair are jointly called Arp 116, but are composed of a large elliptical galaxy known as M60 and a smaller spiral galaxy called NGC 4647.

Although the two galaxies appear to overlap in the image, they do not. But because of their proximity, the two galaxies lie about 54 million and 63 million light-years away from Earth, researchers have been attempting to determine whether they are interacting. There is no evidence of new star formation between them, which would be the case if their mutual gravitational pull were disrupting gas clouds, causing them to collapse into new stars. But detailed images of the pair do suggest there is some form of tidal interaction beginning between them.

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