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News Release Archive:

News Release 259 of 938

April 24, 2008 09:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2008-16

Cosmic Collisions Galore!

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Image: Hubble Interacting Galaxy NGC 5256

Hubble Interacting Galaxy NGC 5256

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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:

NGC 5256, also known as Markarian 266, is a striking example of two disk galaxies that are about to merge. Spectacular streamers of gas surround the two nuclei and eye-catching blue spiral trails indicate recent star formation. The shape of the object is highly disturbed and observations in various wavelength regimes — infrared, millimeter-wave and radio — provide additional evidence for a starburst in this system. NGC 5256 is located in the constellation of Ursa Major, the Great Bear, some 350 million light-years from Earth. Each galaxy also contains an active galactic nucleus, evidence that the chaos is allowing gas to fall into the regions around central black holes as well as feeding starbursts. Recent observations from the Chandra X-ray Observatory show that both nuclei, as well as a region of hot gas in between them, have been heated by the shock waves driven as gas clouds at high velocities collide.

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: NGC 5256, Mrk 0266, I Zw 067, KPG 388

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: NGC 5256, Mrk 0266, I Zw 067, KPG 388
Object Description: Interacting Galaxies
Position (J2000): 13 38 17.68
+48 16 34.6
Constellation: Ursa Major
Distance: 350 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): November 16, 2001
Exposure Time: 36 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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