March 30, 2013
ESO 148-2, a pair of colliding galaxies in Tucana
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University)
ESO 148-2 (also known as ESO 148-IG002 or AM 2312-591) is a pair of interacting galaxies that lie around 550 million light-years from Earth in the southern constellation of Tucana, while they are speeding away from us at more than 13,000 kilometers per second.
This beautiful object that resembles an owl in flight, consists of former disk galaxies that are currently undergoing a collision. The cores of the two individual galaxies – seen at the center of the image – are embedded in hot dust and contain a large number of stars.
Two huge wings sweep out from the center and curve in opposite directions. These are tidal tails of stars and gas that have been pulled from the distorted disks of the galaxies. This cosmic owl is one of the most luminous infrared galaxies known.
This image was taken on March 21, 2002 with the Wide Field Channel of the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the Hubble Space Telescope by using optical and infrared filters.