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Interacting galaxies

Interacting galaxies

R826/0080

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Credit

NATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption

The 'Mice' interacting galaxies. Optical image of galaxies NGC 4676a (left) and NGC 4676b, together known as 'The Mice'. These are two disc-shaped galaxies which first passed each other 300 million years ago and have been distorted by mutual gravity. The left arm which appears straight from Earth is actually highly curved. The Mice are about 200 million light years from Earth in the constellation Coma Berenices. This image was made using the 2.1-metre telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory, Arizona.

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