This Strange-Looking Galaxy is Actually Two. And They're Merging

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image features Arp 122, a peculiar galaxy that in fact comprises two galaxies – NGC 6040, the tilted, warped spiral galaxy and LEDA 59642, the round, face-on spiral – that are in the midst of a collision. ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Dalcanton, Dark Energy Survey/DOE/FNAL/DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA Acknowledgement: L. Shatz

This strange-looking galaxy seems to be a spiral with a long tidal tail stretching away. It’s known as Arp 122, and it’s actually not just one galaxy, but two separate galaxies. NGC 6040 is the warped spiral galaxy seen edge-on, while LEDA 59642 is the round, face-on spiral. The two are colliding about 540 million light-years from Earth, and it gives us a preview of the Milky Way’s future collision with Andromeda.

This image was taken by the venerable Hubble Space Telescope

What will Arp 122 look like when the merger is complete? We’ll try to keep you posted, but this ongoing merger will take hundreds of millions of years, so be patient.

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JWST and Chandra Team Up for a Stunning View of Supernova Remnant Cassiopeia A

This image of Cassiopeia A comes from a combination of data from the Chandra X-ray telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI; IR: NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI/Milisavljevic et al., NASA/JPL/CalTech; Image Processing: NASA/CXC/SAO/J. Schmidt and K. Arcand

NASA’s long-lived Chandra X-ray Observatory teamed up with JWST for the first time, producing this incredibly detailed image of the famous supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. JWST first looked at the remnant in April 2023, and noticed an unusual debris structure from the destroyed star, dubbed the “Green Monster.” The combined view has helped astronomers better understand what this unusual structure is, plus it uncovered new details about the explosion that created Cas A.

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It’s Time for Saturn’s “Spokes” to Return

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope photo of Saturn reveals the planet's cloud bands and a phenomenon called ring spokes. NASA, ESA, STScI, Amy Simon (NASA-GSFC)

Astronomers have been observing Saturn with the Hubble Space Telescope and several other spacecraft for decades and have noticed something unusual. During seasonal changes, transient spoke-like features appear in the rings. These dark, ghostly blobs orbit around the planet 2-3 times, and then disappear.

As Saturn is approaching its equinox, this is prime spoke activity time. Once again, Hubble has been called to gaze at Saturn, tracking the behavior of the spokes and hopefully giving astronomers more clues as to why they occur.

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Hubble Sees a Random Collection of Galaxies, Perfectly Lined Up

A pair of interacting galaxies, one smaller than the other. Each has a bright spot at the centre and two loosely-wound spiral arms, with threads of dark dust following the arms. They appear as a broad, soft glow in which individual stars can’t be seen. A number of bright stars and smaller, background galaxies can also be seen — three such galaxies lie in a vertical line below the right-hand galaxy of the pair.
A pair of interacting galaxies, one smaller than the other. Each has a bright spot at the centre and two loosely-wound spiral arms, with threads of dark dust following the arms. They appear as a broad, soft glow in which individual stars can’t be seen. A number of bright stars and smaller, background galaxies can also be seen — three such galaxies lie in a vertical line below the right-hand galaxy of the pair.

This new image from the Hubble Space Telescope looks like a series of smaller spiral galaxies are falling out of a larger and brighter galaxy. That’s just one of the many reasons this collection of galaxies belongs to the Arp-Madore catalogue of peculiar galaxies.

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Hubble Returns to Science Operations

After a fairly brief pause in operations, the Hubble Space Telescope is back to work. Image Credit: NASA/CSA/ESA/STScI

After a brief interruption, NASA announced that the Hubble Space Telescope is back in business. Problems with one of its gyros put the Hubble into safe mode back on November 19th. Now, the issue has been dealt with, and the world’s most productive space telescope is back online.

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Hubble is Offline Because of a Problem with one of its Gyros

Hubble Space Telescope
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope flies with Earth in the background after a 2002 servicing mission. (NASA Photo)

The rich flow of scientific data—and stunning images—that comes from the Hubble Space Telescope is being interrupted by gyro problems. One of the telescope’s three remaining gyros gave faulty readings, and the Hubble automatically entered safe mode. In safe mode, science operations are suspended.

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Hubble Succeeds Where TESS Couldn’t: It Measured the Nearest Transiting Earth-Sized Planet

This is an artist’s concept of the nearby exoplanet, LTT 1445Ac, which is a nearby Earth-size world. The planet orbits a red dwarf star. The star is in a triple system, with two closely orbiting red dwarfs seen at upper right. The black dot in front of the foreground star is planet LTT 1445Ab, transiting the face of the star. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, L. Hustak (STScI)

Twenty-two light-years away, a rocky world orbits a red dwarf. It’s called LTT 1445Ac, and NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) found it in 2022. However, TESS was unable to gauge the small planet’s size.

That’s okay. The venerable Hubble took care of it.

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An Epic Collaboration Between Hubble and JWST

This panchromatic view of galaxy cluster MACS0416 was created by combining infrared observations from the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope with visible-light data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI

In 2012, as part of the MAssive Cluster Survey (MACS), the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) discovered a pair of colliding galaxy clusters (MACS0416) that will eventually combine to form an even bigger cluster. Located about 4.3 billion light-years from Earth, the MACS0416 cluster contains multiple gravitational lenses that allow astronomers to look back in time and view galaxies as they appeared when the Universe was young. In a new collaboration that symbolizes the passing of the torch, the venerable Hubble and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) teamed up to conduct an extremely detailed study of MACS0416.

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Jupiter Looks Bizarre in Hubble's New Ultraviolet Image

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveals an ultraviolet view of Jupiter. NASA, ESA, and M. Wong (University of California - Berkeley); Processing: Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America)

Jupiter has gone pastel!

Check out this ultra-cool image of Jupiter taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. This is a color composite picture of Jupiter seen in ultraviolet, which reveals different features in Jupiter’s atmosphere. One feature that stands out is Jupiter’s Great Red Spot — it is blue in this image!

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The Hubble Imaged Some Globular Clusters in an Unusual Place: Near the Milky Way’s Centre

Most globular clusters are found in the Milky Way's halo. But some, like the glittering globular cluster Terzan 12, are near the galactic centre. Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. Cohen (Rutgers University)

Our galaxy has about 200 Globular Clusters (GCs,) and most of them are in the galaxy’s halo. Astronomers think most GCs were taken from dwarf galaxies and merged with the Milky Way due to the galaxy’s powerful gravity. That explains why so many of them are on the outskirts of the galaxy. But they’re not all in the halo. Some are towards the Milky Way’s galactic bulge. What are globular clusters doing there?

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