Pic of the Week: Spiraling Optical Illusion

Image (Credit): Two spiral galaxies about 1 billion light-years away captured by the Hubble. (European Space Agency)

This week’s fascinating image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows what appears to be two colliding spiral galaxies. A cropped version is shown below to highlight the colors. Here is more from ESA:

The two galaxies, which have the uninspiring names SDSS J115331 and LEDA 2073461, lie more than a billion light-years from Earth. Despite appearing to collide in this image, the alignment of the two galaxies is likely just by chance — the two are not actually interacting. While these two galaxies might simply be ships that pass in the night, Hubble has captured a dazzling array of interacting galaxies in the past.