Space Photos of the Week: Neighboring Galaxies Got a Star Factory Going

You might be counting down the days to the solar eclipse, but the universe is always overflowing with celestials marvels. And this week was no exception.

First up is a rare jellyfish galaxy, nicknamed for its long, winding “tentacles” trailing out behind it. This phenomenon is caused by something known as ram pressure stripping, when galaxies plummet into galaxy clusters at an incredibly fast rate. They sometimes meet hot, dense gas that blows through the galaxy, shooting out gas and setting off starbursts. This process also feeds the supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy which makes it grow in size and glow brightly. The photo made by ESO’s Very Large Telescope documents just one of 400 known jellyfish galaxies in the universe.

There’s also the sparkling IC 1727 galaxy snapped by NASA’s Hubble Telescope. The galaxy’s unusual and warped shape comes from interaction with neighboring galaxy HGC 672 (not pictured). When galaxies drift too close together, their gravities push and pull against one another, swapping dust and gas. This duo is also a hotbed for star formation, with starbursts and star clusters dotted throughout.

If that’s not enough, check out the hazy atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan and Jupiter’s many converging cloud formations. And when you’re finished, make sure to explore the entire collection.

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