Universe  ID: 31019

Stephan's Quintet

Stephan’s Quintet is the name given to five galaxies that appear to be grouped together from our perspective on Earth. However, closer examination reveals that the well-formed spiral in the foreground is actually much closer to us and is not interacting with the other galaxies, while the galaxies appearing behind it have had their shapes distorted by each other’s gravitational fields.

The larger and more massive a galaxy, the greater the pull it will have on another galaxy. The effects are clearly visible in the warped galaxies of Stephan’s Quintet. Some of the strange forms created by interacting galaxies are short-lived, while some areas of a galaxy may be permanently separated, or small galaxies combined together. The collision of gas and other material in galaxies as a result of these interactions triggers bursts of bright star formation.



Greg Bacon (STScI): Visualizer
Joseph DePasquale (STScI): Visualizer
Frank Summers (STScI): Visualizer
Zoltan Levay (STScI): Visualizer
Leann Johnson (Global Science and Technology, Inc.): Technical Support
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon, J. DePasquale, F. Summers, and Z. Levay (STScI)

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Data Used:
Hubble Space Telescope
Observed Data
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

SVS >> Galaxy
SVS >> Gas
SVS >> Hyperwall
NASA Science >> Universe
SVS >> Star Formation