VV 283 looks like a single peculiar galaxy, but is in fact a pair of merging galaxies. A tidal tail swirls out from a messy central region and splits into two branches. The upward twisting branch is brightened by luminous blue star knots. Like many merging systems, VV 283 is a very luminous infrared system, radiating nearly one thousand billion times energy more than our Sun. VV 283 is located in the constellation of Virgo, the Maiden, some 500 million light-years away.
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.