The gravitational attraction between two misshapen spiral galaxies, known as Arp 273, has created their physical distortions. The interacting galaxies are 350 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Andromeda.
This movie presents a visualization of the interacting galaxy group. This unique three-dimensional view presents a visual reminder that the objects in Hubble images are not all at the same distance, but rather spread across light-years of space. The two-dimensional Hubble image has been combined with a wider, ground-based image of the region around Arp 273. To create a three-dimensional scene, the foreground stars and background galaxies have been separated out of the combined image. The shape and geometry of the interacting group is based on scientific knowledge and intuition when possible, and artistic license as needed. Astronomy and computer graphics combine to create a visual representation of a natural scene that can not be experienced in person, but which inspires the imagination.
NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon, T. Borders, L. Frattare, Z. Levay, and F. Summers (Viz 3D team, STScI);
Image Credits: A. Block, Mount Lemmon SkyCenter, University of Arizona, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Publication: April 20, 2011