The southern constellation Hydra is home to an unusual deep-sky object. Located 326 million light-years away, it was first cataloged in the 1960s as a peculiar galaxy. In this Hubble Space Telescope view, the celestial wonder looks more like a hummingbird next to an egg. In reality, it is a pair of galaxies that are colliding with each other. The blue galaxy once had a pinwheel shape, like that of our Milky Way. But the gravitational pull of a nearby companion galaxy has stretched it like a piece of taffy. Collisions like this were common in the early universe.
Publication: June 20, 2013