''Toothbrush,'' ''Firefly'' Among Galactic Smashups

''Toothbrush,'' ''Firefly'' Among Galactic Smashups
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Two interacting galaxies 200 million light-years away show that size does matter when it comes to cosmic mergers.

The larger galaxy, NGC 5754, exhibits only a slight disturbance to the symmetry of its inner spiral pattern, and its arms are slightly kinked just beyond the inner ring.

By contrast, the smaller galaxy NGC 5752 has undergone a dramatic episode of star formation thanks to this "hostile takeover," with massive groups of newborn stars clumping around its core.

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—Image by NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University), K. Noll (STScI), and J. Westphal (Caltech)
 
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