NGC 5257/8 (Arp 240) is an astonishing galaxy pair, composed of spiral galaxies of similar mass and size, NGC 5257 and NGC 5258. The galaxies are visibly interacting with each other via a bridge of dim stars connecting the two galaxies, almost like two dancers holding hands while performing a pirouette. Both galaxies harbor supermassive black holes in their centers and are actively forming new stars in their disks. Arp 240 is located in the constellation Virgo, approximately 300 million light-years away, and is the 240th galaxy in Arp's Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies. With the exception of a few foreground stars from our own Milky Way all the objects in this image are galaxies.
This image is part of a large collection of 59 images of merging galaxies taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and released on the occasion of its 18th anniversary on 24th April 2008.
Technical facts about this image About the object
Object name: NGC 5257, NGC 5257/8, Arp 240, VV 055, KPG 389
Object description: Interacting Galaxies
Position (J2000): 13 39 55.68
+00 50 03.9
Distance: 300 million light-years (100 million parsecs)
About the data
Data description: The Hubble image was created using HST data from proposal 10592: A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University)
Exposure date(s): December 20, 2001
Exposure time: 33 minutes
Filters: F435W (B) and F814W (I)
http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2008/16/image/bu/ (direct link)
24 April 2008 (2008-04-24)
NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University)
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