Astronomers scrutinize strange galaxies

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These early snapshots demonstrate Hubble’s return to full science operations, after a computer anomaly was corrected aboard the spacecraft. Normal scientific observations resumed on July 17 at 1:18 p.m. EDT. Early targets include globular star clusters in other galaxies and auroras on the giant planet Jupiter, in addition to a look at bizarre galaxies.

These two particular galaxies are part of a program led by Julianne Dalcanton of the University of Washington in Seattle, to study strange galaxies scattered across the sky.

[Left-panel] – ARP-MADORE2115-273 is a rare example of a pair of interacting galaxies in the southern hemisphere. These Hubble observations provide Hubble’s first high-resolution glimpse of this intriguing system, which is located 297 million light years away. Astronomers previously thought it was a “collision ring” system due to the frontal merger of two galaxies. New observations from Hubble show that the ongoing interaction between galaxies is much more complex, leaving behind a rich network of stars and dusty gas. [Right-panel] – ARP-MADORE0002-503 is a large spiral galaxy with unusual extended spiral arms, at a distance of 490 million light years. Its arms extend over a radius of 163,000 light years, making it three times the size of our Milky Way galaxy. While most disk galaxies have an even number of spiral arms, this one has three.

“I admit I had a few nervous moments during the Hubble shutdown, but I also trusted the amazing engineers and technicians at NASA. Everyone is incredibly grateful and we are so excited to be getting back to science! ” said Dalcanton.

The Hubble Space Telescope is an international cooperation project between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Astronomical Research in Washington, DC

For more information on the first scientific images taken with Hubble after its return to science, visit

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