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Hubble Captures Extraordinarily Bright Interacting Galaxies

Two blue-white, comma-shaped galaxies: at upper-right and lower-left of center. Streams of diffuse gas stretch between them. Areas of reddish-brown dust dot galaxy at left, less so on galaxy at right. Black background dotted with stars, distant galaxies.
NASA, ESA, A. Barth (University of California - Irvine), and J. Dalcanton (University of Washington); Processing: Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America)

This new image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope shows interacting galaxies known as AM 1214-255. These galaxies contain active galactic nuclei, or AGNs. An AGN is an extraordinarily luminous central region of a galaxy. Its extreme brightness is caused by matter whirling into a supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s heart.

Hubble observed the galaxy closest to the center as part of an AGN survey, with the aim of compiling a dataset about nearby AGNs to be used as a resource for astronomers investigating AGN physics, black holes, host galaxy structure, and more.

Media Contact:

Claire Andreoli
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD