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News Release 24 of 45

May 1, 2003 12:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2003-14

Freewheeling Galaxies Collide in a Blaze of Star Birth

A Hubble Heritage Release

May 1, 2003: A dusty spiral galaxy appears to be rotating on edge, like a pinwheel, as it slides through the larger, bright galaxy NGC 1275, in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope image. These images, taken with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), show traces of spiral structure accompanied by dramatic dust lanes and bright blue regions that mark areas of active star formation.

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Q & A: Understanding the Discovery

  1. 1. Where are the colliding galaxies?

  2. Detailed observations of NGC 1275 indicate that the dusty material belongs to a spiral system seen nearly edge-on in the foreground. The second galaxy, lying beyond the first, appears as a luminous spiral. These galaxies are believed to be colliding at over 6 million miles per hour.

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Image Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Acknowledgment: M. Donahue (STScI) and J. Trauger (JPL)