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Hubble Interacting Galaxy NGC 5257
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Name: NGC 5257, NGC 5257/8, Arp 240, VV 055, KPG 389
Description: Interacting Galaxies
Position (J2000): RA 13h 39m 55.68s Dec 00° 50' 3.9"
Constellation: Virgo
Distance: 300 million light-years (100 million parsecs)
Visual magnitude: 12.3 (for the pair)
Angular sizes: NGC 5257- 1.6 by 0.8 arcmin, NGC 5258- 1.4 by 0.9 arcmin
Exposure Dates: December 20, 2001
Exposure Time: 33 minutes
Filters: F435W (B) and F814W (I)
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble      Collaboration, and A. Evans (U of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook      University)
Release Date: April 24, 2008
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NGC 5257/8 (Arp 240) is an astonishing galaxy pair, composed of spiral galaxies of similar mass and size, NGC 5257 and NGC 5258. The galaxy on the right is known as NGC 5257, while the galaxy on the left is known as NGC 5258. The galaxies are visibly interacting with each other via a bridge of dim stars connecting the two galaxies, almost like two dancers holding hands while performing a pirouette. Both galaxies harbor supermassive black holes in their centers and are actively forming new stars in their disks. Arp 240 is located in the constellation Virgo, approximately 300 million light-years away, and is the 240th galaxy in Arp's Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies. The two galaxies were first discovered by William Herschel on May 13, 1793. With the exception of a few foreground stars from our own Milky Way all the objects in this image are galaxies.

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.