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What it looks like when one galaxy pulls another apart

NG 7714 has bent itself out of shape to form a star-sucking bridge to a neighboring galaxy. (ESA, NASA)
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Galaxy NGC 7714 looks a little loopy in this new image from the Hubble, but don't be too harsh on the poor dear. This misshapen spiral galaxy is displaying the tell-tale signs of a merger in progress. In other words, it got too close to a neighboring galaxy, and now they're having a tug-of-war.

NGC 7715 isn't in this shot, but the smaller galaxy is the cause of NGC 7714's bent spiral and smokey glow. Streams of star material have been pulled out of the spiral to form a bridge between the two galaxies, which the European Space Agency reports must have drifted too close to each other between 100 and 200 million years ago.

Don't cry for the bent spiral; NGC 7714 is actually the winner of this cosmic fight for star power. As the larger galaxy, it's funneling material from NGC 7715 along the pipeline it's created. That's why the center of the spiral galaxy looks so bright -- it's full of new star formation.

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