This is yet another incredible display of a gargantuan galaxy encounter, which happens when two separate galaxies collide and/or merge. Called NGC 772, or Arp 78, this object lurks more than 100 million light-years from Earth in the Aries constellation.
Though it looks much different from the Milky Way cosmetically, they have many similarities. Both span about 100,000 light-years across, with stunning spiral arms and a bright central core. However, NGC 772 has no bar, and its arms are tightly coiled, while it has one strange, misshapen arm that stick out like a sore thumb. It's believed that this oddity manifested following a gravitational encounter with another galaxy in view (seen above and to the right of NGC 772). Additional evidence of this can be seen in the form of a faint bridge connecting the two galaxies to each other, and to their companions.
Despite the fact that most galaxies that experience such encounters see a boom in star formation, NGC 772 is rare in the fact that there's a notable lack of star formation activity going on.. Other yellow-ish blobs of light are distant galaxies (around 13 in all), or foreground stars in the Milky Way, which are situated between Earth, the galaxy and its companions.
Share This Article