Image Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University)

NGC 6240 may be the most beautiful galaxy you’ve never heard of. Found approximately 400 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Ophiuchus, its distorted, all over the place, shape and structure can only be attributed to one thing: a gravitational merger.

As you can see, the encounter has generated many odd features, including several loops, tails and filamentary structures, which weave a complex web when viewed from afar. NASA has known about some of them for quite some time now, but they—along with a few new ones—are revealed in unprecedented resolution in this new image from the Hubble Space Telescope.

It pays particular attention to the pink-tinged knotted regions, which appear to be the most prevalent near the galaxy’s central core—found with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys.


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