is actually two large spiral
galaxies which just happen to almost exactly line up.
The foreground spiral is viewed nearly
pinwheel shape defined by young bright star clusters.
But against the glow of the background galaxy, dark swirling lanes of
interstellar dust appear to
dominate the face-on spiral's structure.
The dust lanes are
surprisingly pervasive, and this remarkable
overlapping galaxies is one of a small number of systems in which
absorption of light from beyond a galaxy's own stars
can be used to directly
its distribution of dust.
NGC 3314 is
about 140 million light-years (background galaxy) and 117 million
light-years (foreground galaxy) away in the multi-headed
The background galaxy would span nearly 70,000
light-years at its estimated distance.
A synthetic third channel was created to
construct this dramatic
composite of the overlapping galaxies
from two color image data in the Hubble Legacy Archive.
Hubble Legacy Archive,