In a cosmic arrangement, a Hubble image shows two overlapping galaxies

In a cosmic arrangement, a Hubble image shows two overlapping galaxies ...

This week, a Hubble Space Telescope image reveals a sense of symmetry: two galaxies that appear to be colliding but are by chance merely overlapping. The pair are two spiral galaxies, one face-on and one at an angle, who form a distinct form.

The galaxies, now SDSS J115331 and LEDA 2073461, were captured using the Hubbles Advanced Camera for Surveys instrument.

According to Hubble scientists, while these two galaxies might just be ships that pass in the night, the alignment of them is likely to be by chance. There are also two incredible, truly interconnected galaxies, according to Hubble.

The galaxies NGC 7469 and IC 5283, which are both close enough to be known by a shared name, Arp 298. In this pair, one larger barred spiral galaxy is slowly merging with a smaller companion galaxy. And earlier this year, Hubble captured another galactic merger in a system known as the Angel Wing, where the merging galaxies have created a wing-like shape.

Extreme circumstances in galactic mergers can catalyze galaxies into different shapes as spiral arms become distorted by the enormous gravitational forces involved in interactions. These interactions can result in flowing streams of matter between two interacting galaxies as they move close together.

One of Hubbles most spectacular galaxie interactions is its portrait of an object called NCG 1741, where no less than four dwarf galaxies are discovered within 75,000 light-years of each other. Eventually, the whole group will end up as one single merged galaxy.