NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has released a brand new image of what appears to be two spiral galaxies overlapping each other. However, as the European Space Agency (ESA) team points out, the galaxies don’t actually interact, it’s just a matter of perfect timing and alignment giving way to an almost flawless optical illusion.
“Despite appearing to collide in this image, the alignment of the two galaxies is likely coincidental — the two are not actually interacting. While these two galaxies may simply be ships passing by at night, Hubble has recorded a staggering number of interactions. galaxies in the past,” the ESA team wrote in a pronunciation.
Hubble’s observation of the two galaxies — named SDSS J115331 and LEDA 2073461 — is part of the Galaxy Zoo project, a citizen science initiative.
“Originally founded in 2007, the Galaxy Zoo project and its successors are massive citizen science projects that crowdsource galaxy classifications from a pool of hundreds of thousands of volunteers. These volunteers classify galaxies imaged by robotic telescopes and are often the first to ever put eyes on a astronomical object,” explains ESA.
The latest image reminds us that while Hubble’s successor, the JWST, dazzles us with wonderful science and images of the universe, Hubble is still delivering and is nowhere near retirement.