As Seen From Hubble: the Hockey Stick Galaxy

Photo: European Space Agency/Hubble & NASA

(CN) – The Hubble Telescope captured this image of galaxy NGC 4656, also known as “The Hockey Stick Galaxy.” Located in the constellation Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dogs), the galaxy is shaped like an elongated warped stick stretching through space before curling at one end to give it its common name.

The unusual shape is believed to be caused by an interaction between the galaxy and two of its neighbors, NGC 4631 (the Whale Galaxy) and the small elliptical NGC 4627. Galactic interactions can completely reshape celestial objects, bending and shifting their constituent gas, stars and dust into strange and wonderful configurations.

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