this stunning vista, based on image data from
the Hubble Legacy Archive,
distant galaxies form a dramatic backdrop
for disrupted spiral
Arp 188, the Tadpole Galaxy.
The cosmic tadpole is
a mere 420 million light-years distant toward the
northern constellation Draco.
Its eye-catching tail is about 280 thousand light-years long and
features massive, bright blue star clusters.
One story goes
that a more compact intruder galaxy crossed in front
of Arp 188 - from right to left in this view - and was
around behind the Tadpole by their gravitational attraction.
close encounter, tidal forces drew out the
spiral galaxy's stars, gas, and dust
forming the spectacular tail.
The intruder galaxy itself, estimated to
lie about 300 thousand light-years behind the Tadpole,
can be seen through foreground spiral arms at the upper left.
its terrestrial namesake, the Tadpole Galaxy will likely lose
tail as it grows older, the tail's star clusters
forming smaller satellites of the large spiral galaxy.
Hubble Legacy Archive,