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Snapshot: Looking at a peculiar piece of the universe

Arp 195 is not like most galaxies, it’s a cool galaxy.

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ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Dalcanton

The universe is a wild place, and sometimes it doesn’t play by the rules. That’s where the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies comes in. Assembled in the early 1960s by Halton Arp, this catalog categorizes many of the weird and strange galaxies that live in our cosmos.

Today’s subject, Arp 195, is a prime example — this distorted cosmic object is home to a three-way gravitational tug-of-war. Residing some 760 million light-years away, Arp 195 isn’t your normal spiral galaxy. Instead, it’s a trio of galaxies that are all slamming into one another, pulling each other apart and morphing them beyond recognition as they interact.

This image was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, which has been experiencing technological issues as it continues to age. For now, however, Hubble is still up and running, allowing it to continue capturing astounding images of the cosmos for the foreseeable future.

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