planet Earth, we see this strongly distorted
galaxies, cataloged as
81, as they were only about 100 million
years after their close encounter.
The havoc wreaked
by their mutual gravitational interaction during the encounter is
detailed in this color composite image
showing twisted streams of gas and dust, a chaos of massive
and a tidal tail
stretching for 200 thousand light-years or so as it
sweeps behind the cosmic wreckage.
Also known as NGC 6622 (left) and NGC 6621, the galaxies are
roughly equal in size but are
destined to merge
into one large galaxy in the
distant future, making repeated approaches until they finally
Located in the constellation
the galaxies are 280 million
Even more distant background galaxies can be spotted in
this sharp, reprocessed, image from Hubble Legacy Archive data.
Hubble Legacy Archive,