Washington: The ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope recently captured a stunning image of the spiral galaxy named NGC 7252.
According to the European Space Agency (ESA), the spiral galaxy has a superficial resemblance to an atomic nucleus surrounded by the loops of electronic orbits.
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NGC 7252 is also called 'Atoms for Peace' galaxy, a nickname which comes from its loop-like structure, made of stars, that resembles a diagram of an electron orbiting an atomic nucleus.
These loops are well visible in a wider field of view image.
The loop-like outer structures, likely made up of dust and stars flung outwards by the crash, but recalling orbiting electrons in an atom, are partly responsible for the galaxy’s nickname.
Its peculiar appearance is the result of a collision between two galaxies that took place about a billion years ago, which ripped both galaxies apart.
The Hubble image shows the inner parts of the galaxy NGC 7252, revealing a pinwheel-shaped disk that is rotating in a direction opposite to the rest of the galaxy.
This disk resembles a spiral galaxy like our own galaxy, the Milky Way. But it is only about 10,000 light-years across - about a tenth of the size of the Milky Way. It is believed that this whirling structure is a remnant of the galactic collision.
NGC 7252 is a 12.7 magnitude peculiar galaxy and is located 220 million light years away in the constellation Aquarius.
(Source: NASA/European Space Agency)