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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 21:24 EDT
Hubble Interacting Galaxy Mrk 273
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Hubble Interacting Galaxy Mrk 273

May 8, 2008
Markarian 273 is a galaxy with a bizarre structure that somewhat resembles a toothbrush. The Hubble image shows an intricate central region and a striking tail that extends diagonally towards the bottom-right of the image. The tail is about 130 thousand light-years long and is strongly indicative of a merger between two galaxies. Markarian 273 has an intense region of starburst, where 60 solar masses of new stars are born each year. Near-infrared observations reveal a nucleus with two components. Markarian 273 is one of the most luminous galaxies when observed in the infrared, and is located 500 million light-years away from Earth.

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.