A picture of a quartet of galactic neighbors was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. Dubbed as NGC 833, NGC 838, NGC 839, and NGC 835, they form part of a much larger cluster of seven galaxies called the Hickson Compact Group 16 (HCG 16).
A spokesperson from Hubble said in a statement, “They shine brightly with their glowing golden centers and wispy tails of gas, set against a background dotted with much more distant galaxies.”
NGC 839 exhibit manifestations of galactic cannibalism, because based on the galaxy’s shape, it appears to have merged with another galaxy sometime in the recent past, said Hubble spokesperson. Meanwhile, NGC 833 points to some evidence suggesting that at some point in its history, the gas could have been stripped away due to galaxy interactions.
Although, HCG 16 is not the only one in existence in the universe. In the 1980s, these types of galactic neighborhoods were first classified and contain some of the “densest concentrations of galaxies” in the universe, according to Hubble.
Though, the Hickson Compact Groups are actually rather common, but the galaxies found within the groups could be a little weird.
For example, astronomers have discovered Seyfert 2 galaxies, LINER galaxies, and star burst galaxies in the HCG 16. All of these differing galaxy types can become instrumental in helping researchers learn more about the workings of galaxies.
LINERs contain a scorching central core bursting with radiation, while Seyfert 2 galaxies have very brilliant cores in invisible wavelengths of light. And, starburst galaxies are creating stars at a more rapid rate compared to other, similar galaxies.