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Posted by Specola

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Distorted galaxy NGC 2442 can be found in the southern constellation of the flying fish, (Piscis) Volans. Located about 50 million light-years away, the galaxy's two spiral arms extending from a pronounced central bar give it a hook-shaped appearance in this deep colorful image, with spiky foreground stars scattered across the telescopic field of view. The image also reveals the distant galaxy's obscuring dust lanes, young blue star clusters and reddish star forming regions surrounding a core of yellowish light from an older population of stars. But the star forming regions seem more concentrated along the drawn-out (upper right) spiral arm. The distorted structure is likely the result of an ancient close encounter with the smaller galaxy seen near the top left of the frame. The two interacting galaxies are separated by about 150,000 light-years at the estimated distance of NGC 2442.

Photo by Nicolas Rolland

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