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News Release Archive:

News Release 287 of 966

April 24, 2008 09:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2008-16

Cosmic Collisions Galore!

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Image: Hubble Interacting Galaxy Arp 220

Hubble Interacting Galaxy Arp 220

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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:

Arp 220 appears to be a single, odd-looking galaxy, but is in fact a nearby example of the aftermath of a collision between two spiral galaxies. It is the brightest of the three galactic mergers closest to Earth, about 250 million light-years away in the constellation of Serpens, the Serpent. The collision, which began about 700 million years ago, has sparked a cracking burst of star formation, resulting in about 200 huge star clusters in a packed, dusty region about 5,000 light-years across (about 5 percent of the Milky Way's diameter). The amount of gas in this tiny region equals the amount of gas in the entire Milky Way Galaxy. The star clusters are the bluish-white bright knots visible in the Hubble image. Arp 220 glows brightest in infrared light and is an ultra-luminous infrared galaxy. Previous Hubble observations, taken in the infrared at a wavelength that looks through the dust, have uncovered the cores of the parent galaxies 1,200 light-years apart. Observations with NASA s Chandra X-ray Observatory have also revealed X-rays coming from both cores, indicating the presence of two supermassive black holes. Arp 220 is the 220th galaxy in Arp's Atlas of Peculiar 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.

Object Names: Arp 220, IC 1127, VV 540, KPG 470, UGC 09913

Image Type: Astronomical

Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University)

Technical facts about this image:

About the Object
Object Name: Arp 220, IC 1127, VV 540, KPG 470, UGC 09913
Object Description: Interacting Galaxies
Position (J2000): 15 34 57.29
+23 30 09.5
Constellation: Serpens
Distance: 250 million light-years (100 million parsecs)
About the Data
Data Description: The Hubble image was created using HST data from proposal 10592: A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University)
Instrument: ACS/WFC
Exposure Date(s): January 5, 2002
Exposure Time: 33 minutes
Filters: F435W (B) and F814W (I)
About the Image
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University)
Release Date: April 24, 2008

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