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A Clump of Galaxy Misfits
RA 11hr 48m 27s Dec +12° 43.0'
180 million light years
ESA/Hubble and NASA
May 17, 2010
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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:
That galaxies come in very different shapes and sizes is dramatically demonstrated by this striking Hubble image of the Hickson Compact Group 59. Named by astronomer Paul Hickson in 1982, this is the 59th such collection of galaxies in his catalogue of unusually close groups. What makes this image interesting is the variety on display. There are two large spiral galaxies, one face-on with smooth arms and delicate dust tendrils, and one highly inclined, as well as a strangely disorderly galaxy featuring clumps of blue young stars. We can also see many apparently smaller, probably more distant, galaxies visible in the background. Hickson groups display many peculiarities, often emitting in the radio and infrared and featuring active star-forming regions. In addition their galaxies frequently contain Active Galactic Nuclei powered by supermassive black holes, as well large quantities of dark matter.
NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys, using the
Wide Field Channel, captured this image of HCG059 in 2007. The picture
was created from images taken through blue, yellow and near-infrared filters
(F435W, F606W and F814W). The total exposure times per filter were 57
minutes, 41 minutes and 35 minutes respectively. The field of view is
about 3.4 arcminutes across.