Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 5:43 EDT
Hubble Interacting Galaxy UGC 4881
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Hubble Interacting Galaxy UGC 4881

May 8, 2008
UGC 4881, known as the "The Grasshopper," is a stunning system consisting of two colliding galaxies. It has a bright curly tail containing a remarkable number of star clusters. The galaxies are thought to be halfway through a merger the cores of the parent galaxies are still clearly separated, but their disks are overlapping. A supernova exploded in this system in 1999 and astronomers believe that a vigorous burst of star formation may have just started. This notable object is located in the constellation of Lynx, some 500 million light-years away from Earth. UGC 4881 is the 55th galaxy in Arp's Atlas of Peculiar 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.