Hubble captures galaxy, in sea of galaxies, with a tale from a galaxy that got too close

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In this stunning vista, based on image data from the Hubble Legacy Archive, distant galaxies form a dramatic backdrop for disrupted spiral galaxy Arp 188, the Tadpole Galaxy.

[A] mere 420 million light-years distant toward the northern constellation Draco, … its eye-catching tail is about 280 thousand light-years long and features massive, bright blue star clusters.

One story goes that a more compact intruder galaxy crossed in front of Arp 188 — from right to left in this view — and was slung around behind the Tadpole by their gravitational attraction. During the close encounter, tidal forces drew out the spiral galaxy’s stars, gas, and dust forming the spectacular tail.

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