The Tadpole Galaxy: A Hubble Image Tour

The Tadpole Galaxy depicts a spectacular and violent collision between a galaxy and its neighbor. Take a tour of this cosmic crash from the view of the Hubble Space Telescope.

By NASA

Tadpole Galaxy (2002-04-01/2002-04-09) by Hubble Space TelescopeNASA

The Tadpole Galaxy

Located some 420 million light-years away, this odd-looking galaxy streams a trail of newborn stars against a stunning backdrop of thousands of even more distant galaxies.  

Dubbed the "Tadpole," this spiral galaxy is unlike the textbook images of stately galaxies.

The Tadpole is a distorted spiral galaxy. Its long streamer of debris was caused by the intrusion of a small galaxy tightly packed with stars.

The intruder galaxy, the bright clump to the upper right of the larger galaxy's core, now lies about 300,000 light-years beyond the Tadpole.

Tides caused by the interaction with the intruder galaxy created a long tail of stars and gas that stretches out more than 280,000 light-years.

Clusters of new, blue stars, spawned by the collision between the Tadpole and the intruder galaxy, are visible in the long tail.

Each cluster contains some 100,000 massive stars.

These stars burn ten times hotter and one million times brighter than our Sun.

The Tadpole lies against a backdrop of about 6,000 more-distant galaxies.

Hubble continues to observe galaxy mergers such as the Tadpole to gain insight into how galaxies grow and evolve.

Credits: Story

NASA, H. Ford (JHU), G. Illingworth (UCSC/LO), M. Clampin (STScI), G. Hartig (STScI), the ACS Science Team, and ESA

The ACS Science Team: H. Ford, G. Illingworth, M. Clampin, G. Hartig, T. Allen, K. Anderson, F. Bartko, N. Benitez, J. Blakeslee, R. Bouwens, T. Broadhurst, R. Brown, C. Burrows, D. Campbell, E. Cheng, N. Cross, P. Feldman, M. Franx, D. Golimowski, C. Gronwall, R. Kimble, J. Krist, M. Lesser, D. Magee, A. Martel, W. J. McCann, G. Meurer, G. Miley, M. Postman, P. Rosati, M. Sirianni, W. Sparks, P. Sullivan, H. Tran, Z. Tsvetanov, R. White, and R. Woodruff

NASA Hubble Space Telescope

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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