Constellations can be seen in the sky in a variety of shapes by stargazers. However, identifying shapes in far-off galaxies requires a keen eye—or rather, a sophisticated telescope. NASA recently released a picture of the interacting galaxies Arp 142 that was first taken in 2018 with the Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes. These distant worlds, far from being amorphous, remarkably resemble an egg and a penguin.
A statement was shared with the carousel of images, which featured the original image and an image that has been helpfully annotated to identify the various shapes. Our Spitzer and @NASAHubble space telescopes were able to photograph these penguin- and egg-shaped galaxies. This remote pairing is located roughly ten times further away from Earth than the Andromeda galaxy, at a distance of 23 million light-years, according to NASA. The nearby "egg," NGC 2937, has a gravitational pull that has changed the spiral galaxy known as NGC 2936, or the "penguin."
The distinctions between NGC 2936 and NGC 2937 are evident, even to the uninitiated astronomer. The "penguin" appears to be coloured pink, blue, and orange by a variety of elements, including dust, gas, and new stars. However, the "egg" is a blue oval that appears featureless, which NASA claims is "due to its smooth distribution of old stars." These galaxies are gradually being drawn together even though they are currently apart. According to NASA, gravity will eventually force these two galaxies to merge into one. Most massive galaxies that exist today, like the Milky Way, have probably undergone this kind of merger at some point in their histories.