IRAS F10565+2448 is a system that appears to consist of two colliding galaxies. The larger galaxy has dust lanes, while the smaller galaxy has a pronounced curved tail that has been pulled away from the center (downwards as seen here). IRAS F10565+2448 is located in the constellation of Leo, the Lion, about 600 million light-years away. Some scientists regard this system as a candidate for a three-galaxy system. The nature of the third object is unknown.
Astronomy textbooks typically present galaxies as staid, solitary, and majestic island worlds of glittering stars. But galaxies have a dynamical side. They have close encounters that sometimes end in grand mergers and overflowing sites of new star birth as the colliding galaxies morph into wondrous new shapes. Today, in celebration of the Hubble Space Telescope's 18th launch anniversary, 59 views of colliding galaxies constitute the largest collection of Hubble images ever released to the public. This new Hubble atlas dramatically illustrates how galaxy collisions produce a remarkable variety of intricate structures in never-before-seen detail.
Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University)