NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
The Hubble Space Telescope’s latest portrait of deep space reveals two galaxies interacting in a scene reminiscent of a penguin safeguarding its egg. But the placid pair — collectively called Arp 142 — actually bears the scars of a destructive past. The galaxy NGC 2936 (top) was once a spiral like the Milky Way, until the gravitational pull from the egg-shaped galaxy NGC 2937 (bottom) warped it into avian form. Remnants of NGC 2936’s spiral arms radiate out from the bird’s eye, which once formed the galaxy’s core. The system lies 326 million light-years away in the constellation Hydra.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.