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Galactic Creatures at Play
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Name: UGC 2369
Description: Interacting galaxy
Position (J2000): RA 2h 54m 2.16s Dec 14° 58' 26.98"
Constellation: Aries
Visual magnitude: 14.6?
Angular size: 1.148 x 0.933 arcmin
Field of view: 2.83 x 1.91 arcminutes
Orientation: North is 107.2° left of vertical
Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Evans
Release date: August 5, 2019
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The pair of strange, luminescent creatures at play in this image are actually galaxies - realms of millions upon millions of stars.

This galactic duo is known as UGC 2369. The galaxies are interacting, meaning that their mutual gravitational attraction is pulling them closer and closer together and distorting their shapes in the process. A tenuous bridge of gas, dust, and stars can be seen connecting the two galaxies,, during which they pulled material out into space across the diminishing divide between them.

Interaction with others is a common event in the history of most galaxies. For larger galaxies like the Milky Way, the majority of these interactions involve significantly smaller so-called dwarf galaxies. But every few eons, a more momentous event can occur. For our home galaxy, the next big event will take place in about four billion years, when it will collide with its bigger neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy. Over time, the two galaxies will likely merge into one - already nicknamed Milkomeda.