NGC 5257/8 (Arp 240) is an astonishing galaxy pair, composed of spiral galaxies of similar mass and size, NGC 5257 and NGC 5258. The galaxies are visibly interacting with each other via a bridge of dim stars connecting the two galaxies, almost like two dancers holding hands while performing a pirouette. Both galaxies harbor supermassive black holes in their centers and are actively forming new stars in their disks. Arp 240 is located in the constellation Virgo, approximately 300 million light-years away, and is the 240th galaxy in Arp's Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies. With the exception of a few foreground stars from our own Milky Way all the objects in this image are galaxies.
This image is part of a large collection of 59 images of merging galaxies taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and released on the occasion of its 18th anniversary on 24th April 2008.