Hubble Distorted Spiral Galaxy UGC 3912
At first glance, UGC 3912 appears to be just a random cluster of stars, but upon closer inspection, you’ll realize it’s actually a spiral galaxy. This Hubble image shows that it was most likely distorted by a gravitational encounter with a nearby galaxy.


Hubble Distorted Spiral Galaxy UGC 3912
Galaxies typically brush up against each other’s gravitational fields or even collide when they interact, causing their stars, dust, and gas to be pulled into new paths. For UGC 3912, this galaxy may have once been an organized-looking spiral, but after the interaction, its shape has been distorted into a giant thumb of sorts.

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Fortunately, when galaxies interact, the individual stars and objects that orbit them remain whole even though their orbits can change so dramatically that the entire galaxy’s shape is altered. That’s because the distances between stars in galaxies are so vast that they don’t crash into one another, just continue serenely along their new orbits,” said the NASA Hubble Mission Team.

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