Bright spiral galaxy NGC 3169 appears to be unraveling
this cosmic scene, played out some 70 million light-years away
bright star Regulus toward the faint constellation Sextans.
Its beautiful spiral arms are distorted into sweeping tidal
tails as NGC 3169 (left) and neighboring NGC 3166 interact
gravitationally, a common fate even
for bright galaxies in
the local universe.
In fact, drawn out stellar arcs and plumes,
indications of gravitational interactions,
seem rampant in the deep and colorful
The picture spans
20 arc minutes, or about 400,000 light-years
at the group's estimated distance, and includes smaller, dimmer NGC 3165
at the right.
NGC 3169 is also known to shine across the spectrum from
radio to X-rays,
an active galactic nucleus that is likely the
site of a supermassive black hole.
Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter,
University of Arizona