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Hubble Interacting Galaxy NGC 5257
NGC 5257, NGC 5257/8, Arp 240, VV 055, KPG 389
RA 13h 39m 55.68s Dec 00° 50' 3.9"
300 million light-years (100 million parsecs)
12.3 (for the pair)
NGC 5257- 1.6 by 0.8 arcmin, NGC 5258- 1.4 by 0.9 arcmin
December 20, 2001
F435W (B) and F814W (I)
NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and A. Evans (U of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University)
April 24, 2008
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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:
NGC 5257/8 (Arp 240) is an astonishing galaxy pair, composed of spiral galaxies of similar mass and size, NGC 5257 and NGC 5258. The galaxy on the right is known as NGC 5257, while the galaxy on the left is known as NGC 5258. The galaxies are visibly interacting with each other via a bridge of dim stars connecting the two galaxies, almost like two dancers holding hands while performing a pirouette. Both galaxies harbor supermassive black holes in their centers and are actively forming new stars in their disks. Arp 240 is located in the constellation Virgo, approximately 300 million light-years away, and is the 240th galaxy in Arp's Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies. The two galaxies were first discovered by William Herschel on May 13, 1793. With the exception of a few foreground stars from our own Milky Way all the objects in this image are galaxies.
image is part of a large collection of 59 images of merging galaxies taken
by the Hubble Space Telescope and released on the occasion of its 18th
anniversary on 24th April 2008.