Astronomy Picture of the Day: 11/22/13 – AM 0644-741

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)

Located approximately 300 million light-years away in the constellation of Volans, AM 0644-741 is one of the most spectacular ‘Ring Galaxies’ currently know. Galaxies such as this typically get their ring-like appearance after immense galactic collisions take place. In this case, AM 0644-741’s appearance can be attributed to an “intruder” galaxy plunging through the disk of AM 0644-741 and piercing it.


This particular one is about 150,000 light-years in diameter, making it about 50% longer than our home galaxy, The Milky Way. And while it’s quite unlikely for any celestial objects to collide during galactic mergers, they are extremely prone to rampant star formation over the course of millions of years. You can see some of those star-forming regions splotched in blue in this Hubble image, which was taken using sensitive ultraviolet filters.

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