Known as Arp 273, these two galaxies have been distorted by their mutual gravitational pull into a shape resembling a long-stemmed rose. This visualization of the interacting galaxy pair presents a unique three-dimensional view and serves as a visual reminder that the objects in astronomical images are spread across vast reaches of space. For this movie, the two-dimensional Hubble Space Telescope image has been combined with a wider, ground-based image of the region around Arp 273.
To create a three-dimensional scene, the foreground stars and background galaxies have been separated out of the combined image. The shape and geometry of the interacting group is based on scientific knowledge and intuition when possible, and artistic license as needed. Astronomy and computer graphics combine to create a visual representation of a natural scene that can not be experienced in person, but which inspires the imagination.
NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon, T. Borders, L. Frattare, Z. Levay, and F. Summers (Viz 3D team, STScI);
Image: A. Block, Mount Lemmon SkyCenter, University of Arizona, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Production: April 20, 2011
Publication: August 31, 2018