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Peculiar Galaxies of Arp 273 The spiky stars in the foreground of this sharp cosmic portrait are well within our own Milky Way Galaxy . The two eye-catching galaxies lie far beyond the Milky Way, at a distance of over 300 million light-years. Their distorted appearance is due to gravitational tides as the pair engage in close encounters . Cataloged as Arp 273 (also as UGC 1810), the galaxies do look peculiar , but interacting galaxies are now understood to be common in the universe. In fact, the nearby large spiral Andromeda Galaxy is known to be some 2 million light-years away and approaching the Milky Way. Arp 273 may offer an analog of their far future encounter . Repeated galaxy encounters on a cosmic timescale can ultimately result in a merger into a single galaxy of stars. From our perspective, the bright cores of the Arp 273 galaxies are separated by only a little over 100,000 light-years.
January 05, 2017 via NASA
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