April 24, 2008
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is celebrating its 18th anniversary with a new collection of images showcasing colliding galaxies, including some captured by JPL's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2.
This picture from the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 shows Arp 148, the staggering aftermath of an encounter between two galaxies that resulted in a ring-shaped galaxy and a long-tailed companion. The collision between the two parent galaxies produced a shockwave effect that first drew matter into the center and then caused it to propagate outwards in a ring. The elongated companion perpendicular to the ring suggests that Arp 148 is a unique snapshot of an ongoing collision. Infrared observations reveal a strong obscuration region that appears as a dark dust lane across the nucleus in optical light.
Arp 148 is located in the constellation of Ursa Major, the Great Bear, approximately 500 million light-years away. This interacting pair of galaxies is included in Arp's catalog of peculiar galaxies as number 148.
To see dozens of other crashing galaxies photographed by Hubble, visit http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2008/16/image/.