IRAS 23436+5257 (Image Credit: Judy Schmidt, ESA, Hubble and NASA)

This atypical looking galaxy, dubbed IRAS 23436+5257, looks like a large celestial glow-worm. The shape comes from a close encounter of the galactic kind. Several millions of years ago, after a neighboring galaxy dwelled too close, the gravitational perturbation of the event caused the overall structure to distort, leaving us with this interesting shape.

In this case, the neighboring galaxy was likely absorbed by the primary galaxy, which resulted in an increase in the number of stars being churned out. The bright blue patches are indicative of this sort of star formation activity

IRAS 23436+5257 can be found in the constellation of Cassiopeia. The image contains data collected using two different color filters. This allows us to see the activity that would not be noticeable otherwise.

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