Cradled galaxies betray violent past

Hubble snaps ‘the Penguin’ and its egg-shaped companion

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.

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