recorded with the Hubble Space Telescope's new
distant galaxies form a dramatic backdrop
for disrupted spiral
188, the Tadpole Galaxy.
is a mere 420 million light-years distant toward the
. Its eye-catching tail is about 280 thousand
light-years long and features massive, bright
blue star clusters. One
that a more compact intruder galaxy crossed in front
188 - from left to right in this view - and was
behind the Tadpole by their gravitational attraction. During the close encounter
tidal forces drew out the spiral
stars, gas, and dust forming the spectacular tail. The intruder
galaxy itself, estimated to
lie about 300 thousand light-years behind the Tadpole,
can be seen through foreground spiral arms at the upper left. Following
its terrestrial namesake
the Tadpole Galaxy will likely
lose its tail as it grows older, the tail's star clusters
forming smaller satellites of the large spiral galaxy.
ACS Science & Engineering Team,
NASA Text: APOD
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