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Hubble Interacting Galaxy NGC 520
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Name: NGC 520, Arp 157, VV 231, KPG 031
Description: Interacting Galaxies
Position (J2000): RA 01hr 24m 35.42s Dec +03° 47' 55.0"
Constellation: Pisces
Visual magnitude: 12.2
Angular dimensions: 1.8 x 3.4 arcmin
Distance: 100 million light-years (50 million parsecs)
Exposure Date: October 22, 2004
Exposure Time: 77 minutes
Filters: F435W (B), F555W (V), and F814W (I)
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, & B. Whitmore (STScI)
Release Date: April 24, 2008

2010 ESO release:        G1048
Click the image to buy a print


NGC 520 is the product of a collision between two disk galaxies that started 300 million years ago. It exemplifies the middle stages of the merging process: the disks of the parent galaxies have merged together, but the nuclei have not yet coalesced. It features an odd-looking tail of stars and a prominent dust lane that runs diagonally across the center of the image and obscures the galaxy. NGC 520 is one of the brightest galaxy pairs on the sky, and can be observed with a small telescope toward the constellation of Pisces, the Fish, having the appearance of a comet. It is about 100 million light-years away and about 100,000 light-years across. The galaxy pair is included in Arp's catalog of peculiar galaxies as Arp 157. It was discovered by William Herschel on Dec 13, 1784.

This image is part of a large collection of 59 images of merging galaxies taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and released on the occasion of its 18th anniversary on 24th April 2008