NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University)

A great encounter between a starry sea diver, at the top, and something bigger below is playing out in this image. That’s what I see. What stories can you tell about this image?

UGC 8335 is an interacting pair of spiral galaxies. The two galaxies are swinging closer and closer together like ice skaters. Explore the image. Dark dust lanes dominate the central bulges of these galaxies providing fuel for the formation of new stars in the future. A bridge of stars, gas and dust links the two galaxies. Gravity interactions have thrown curved tails of gas and dust far outside the galaxies. These areas where the gas and dust get pressed together are star-making areas. Young, blue stars dominate these areas of the galaxies. Look for many background galaxies in this view from NASA‘s Hubble Space Telescope.

In a billion years or so, these galaxies will complete their merger and become a larger elliptical galaxy. UGC 8335 is located about 400 million light-years from Earth toward the constellation Ursa Major, the Great Bear.