Hubble Telescope captures three galaxies in epic photo

The subject of this image is a group of three galaxies, known collectively as NGC 7764A.

(Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Dalcanton, Dark Energy Survey, US Department of Energy (DOE), Fermilab (FNAL), Dark Energy Survey Camera (DECam), Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), NoirLab/ National Science Foundation/AURA, European Southern Observatory (ESO ); Acknowledgments: J. Schmidt)

(NEXSTAR) – NASA shared a mesmerizing photo on Friday that shows three galaxies in a single photo.

The photo was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, a joint effort between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).

The first galaxy can be seen in the lower right of the photo, described by the European Space Agency as “bowling ball shaped”. Near the center of the photo, you can see the second galaxy, with its long tails extending from its center. At the top right is the third orange-colored galaxy.

The three galaxies were given the not-so-catchy combined name of “NGC 7764A”. They are located approximately 425 million light-years from Earth.

The galaxies in the upper right appear to be “interacting with each other,” the European Space Agency wrote in a post describing the photo.

“The long streaks of stars and gas extending from them make it look like they’ve both just been hit at high speed, thrown into disarray by the ball-shaped galaxy. bowling at the bottom left of the image,” ESA said. “It’s also unclear whether the lower left galaxy interacts with the other two, although they are so close in space that it seems possible that they are.”

“Interacting with each other” doesn’t mean they crash into each other at high speed, the ESA said. “In reality, interactions between galaxies occur over very long periods of time, and galaxies rarely collide head-on with each other.”

Even so, these slow interactions are illustrated by the wispy edges around galaxies. The ESA thought the galaxy in the upper right resembled the USS Enterprise from Star Trek. See the resemblance?

The USS Enterprise during the opening credits of the STAR TREK: The Original Series episode, “The Cage”. The pilot episode was completed in early 1965, but did not air until October 4, 1988. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

NASA is live streaming the view from the Hubble Space Telescope whenever it is fixed on a target. You can see it here.

Jack C. Nugent