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Hubble discovers a dangerous Galactic Dance

This image, taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows two interacting galaxies that are so closely intertwined with each other that they are known by the common name Arp 91. This sophisticated galactic dance takes place at a distance of more than 100 million years from Earth.

The two galaxies that make up the Arp 91 object have their own names: the galaxy located below, which looks like a bright spot, is called NGC 5953, and the oval-shaped galaxy lying at the top right is known as NGC 5954. In fact, both of these galaxies belong to the class of spiral galaxies, but they look very different in shape due to the fact that they are oriented at different angles with respect to the line of observation.

The Arp 91 object is a living example of the interaction between galaxies. Galaxy NGC 5953 exerts a strong gravitational influence on galaxy NGC 5954, as a result of which it seems that galaxy NGC 5954 has even pulled down one of its spiral arms. The most powerful gravitational attraction between two galaxies forces them to interact with each other. Such gravitational interactions are widespread in the universe and are an important part of the evolution of galaxies.

Most astronomers tend to believe that collisions between spiral galaxies lead to the formation of galaxies of a different class, known as elliptical galaxies. These extremely high-energy and powerful collisions, however, unfold on time scales significantly exceeding the duration of human life. Such processes have been going on for hundreds of millions of years, so we should not expect that the appearance of the Arp 91 object will undergo noticeable changes in the near future.

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