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ESO510 s
A Warped Edge-on Galaxy

Spiral galaxy ESO 510–13 revealed its twisted shape to the Hubble Space Telescope. Courtesy NASA and the Hubble Heritage Team. Sometimes when galaxies interact, they pull each other to pieces. Other times they just get a little bent out of shape. The warped disk of ESO 510–13 in eastern Hydra suggests that this giant spiral swallowed and absorbed a smaller galaxy in astronomically recent times and is still settling down after the meal. Many spirals, including the Milky Way and M31 in Andromeda, have at least slightly warped disks due to interactions with dwarf companions. In this case, our perfectly edge-on view reveals a strong warp dramatically. This true-color Hubble Space Telescope image, just released by the Hubble Heritage Project, shows ESO 510–13 in unprecedented clarity. The frame is 2.4 arcminutes wide, or 100,000 light-years across at the galaxy's distance of about 150 million light-years. Amateurs with moderately large telescopes can detect the galaxy as a tiny, 13th-magnitude smudge.

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