Arp 107, a pair of galaxies in the midst of a cosmic collision. using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), we can get a great look at this amazing phenomenon. The larger galaxy in the image is a Seyfert galaxy, a type of powerful and energetic galaxy with an active galactic nucleus at its core. This intense activity radiates throughout the entirety of the galaxy, something that is very visible in this image.
Arp 107 is part of a catalogue of 338 galaxies known as the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies,the smaller galaxy is connected to the larger one by a bridge of gas and dust. According to current estimates, Arp 107 lies about 465 million light-years away from us here on Earth. It was first catalogued in 1966 by Halton Arp as part of his Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies. Its inclusion in this catalogue makes it an ideal candidate for observation by the Hubble telescope.
In fact, Arp 107 has become something of a poster child for this observational “gap” that the telescope seeks to fill. Recent Hubble images have been released featuring Arp 107 and other galaxies from the same observing programme. These images provide remarkable insight into the nature of these spectacular and not-easily-defined galaxies.
Galactic collisions like this one are quite common in our universe, so it’s quite possible that there are many more out there waiting to be discovered. We may never know what goes on in the depths of space, but with tools like Hubble we can keep exploring and learning more about our cosmos. Until next time, stay safe and keep looking up!