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Two Galaxies Play the zipper in this spectacular Hubble image

  hubble ngc 4485 irregular galaxy on the rim
NGC 4485, a galaxy that collides with its neighbor, NGC 4490, which lies outside the frame at the bottom right of the image. ESA / Hubble, NASA

When galaxies move across the universe, they sometimes interact and collide even when they come close together. In some cases, we can see evidence of nearby galactic neighbors in the effects on galaxy shape and star production.

This is such a case recently captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. The irregular galaxy NGC 4485 is about 30 million light-years away from us, in the Canes Venatici constellation and its unusual form depends on the gravitational forces exerted by the nearby and much larger galaxy NGC 4490. You cannot see NGC 4490 in this image since it is out of frame, at the bottom right of the image, but you can see the effect it has on the smaller NGC 4485.

NGC 4485 has been drawn into an elongated form of gravity, and this disturbance has also changed the way as dust and gas are distributed throughout the galaxy. There are now lumps and streams of matter, before it spread more evenly over space. This has given rise to an area of ​​strong star activity, with many newborn hot-blue stars lying to the right of the center of the image.

Sometimes two galaxies close together to destroy or destroy each other, but not in this case. The galaxies have come as close together as they should and now move away from each other, creating a "tug of war" where both sides draw on the material lying between them.

This war has resulted in the two galaxies being connected with a stream of matter 25,000 light-years long, consisting of both pockets of gas and regions of star formation. But the stars that are born here will not survive long, because they are so light and energetic that they quickly burn throughout their fuel.

This is not a purely destructive process, but as the event will enrich the local cosmic environment with heavy elements and will distribute the material that will eventually become the next generation of stars.

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