In this incredible image, which was taken by Adam Block at the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter, we make note of two galaxies, dubbed NGC 2276 (left) & NGC 2300 (right), that lie in close proximity to the other. The former is spiral, while the latter appears to be irregular in shape.
Despite the fact that they appear to be spectacularly small orbs of light from this distance, these distant galaxies pose many questions. For instance, NGC 2276 shows wear and tear in its overall structure, potentially the result of gravitational encounters distorting its shape. Only, we aren’t sure where the culprit is, as its neighbor shows no signs of similar interactions. This has led scientists to believe that there is another cause for the abnormality. Perhaps, it might even be an illusion generated by NGC 2276ʼs movements through space.
Secondly, astronomers have noted a humongous envelope of gas that bridges the gap between the two galaxies. Said envelope is not only extremely hot, but it is a heavy source of x-ray emission. Only, the discovery is a conundrum since they don’t have the combined mass to keep the galaxies anchored to the envelope. Thus, for all intents and purposes, it shouldn’t exist, yet it does. Some have even asserted that dark matter might be acting as the anchor.
See a larger image here.
You can learn more information about this image here (on the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter’s official website).