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The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured an unusual galaxy called IRAS 06076-2139. It is found in “The Hare” (the constellation Lepus). The galaxy located 500 million light-years away was detected by the ACS (Advanced Camera for Surveys) and WFC3 (Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3).

This distinct entity is composed of two different galaxies hurrying past each other at approximately 2 million km per hour. This momentum is most presumably too fast for them to integrate and configure a single galaxy. However, while passing each other, because of the small distance of only some 20,000 light-years separating them, the galaxies will deform each other through their gravitational force, modifying their structures on a magnificent scale.

It is a common sight for Hubble to notice such galactic interactions which has been for long an area of study for astronomers. Interacting galaxies take several forms including galaxy harassment, galactic cannibalism, and galaxy collisions. In some 4.5 billion years, the Milky Way itself will be a victim of galaxy collisions, as it will merge with the Andromeda Galaxy. However, because of the huge distances between billions of individual stars, hardly any stellar collisions will happen.


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