Release 717 of 1,091

A Bird's Eye View of a Galaxy Collision

Release date: Nov 2, 2000 1:00 AM (EST)
Release type: Hubble Heritage

What appears as a bird's head, leaning over to snatch up a tasty meal, is a striking example of a galaxy collision in NGC 6745. The "bird" is a large spiral galaxy, with its core still intact. It is peering at its "prey," a smaller passing galaxy (nearly out of the field of view at lower right). The bright blue beak and bright, whitish-blue top feathers show the distinct path taken during the smaller galaxy's journey. These galaxies did not merely interact gravitationally as they passed one another; they actually collided.