This newly revised NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of the Hickson Compact Group 31 (HCG 31) of galaxies highlights streams of star-formation as four dwarf galaxies interact with each other. The bright and distorted clump of young blue-white stars is named as NGC 1741. First it appeared to be a single galaxy. But NGC 1741 is actually a pair of colliding dwarf galaxies.
Another dwarf and cigar-shaped galaxy to the pair’s right joins their dance with a thin stream of stars which connects the trio of the stars. HGC 31’s fourth member is revealed by a stream of young blue stars which point to the galaxy. It also indicates its interaction with the other three. The bright object in the center of the image shown above is a star situated between Earth and HCG 31.
Dwarf galaxy encounters are generally seen billions of light-years away. It probably occurred billions of years ago. But HCG 31 is located some 166 million light-years from Earth. Though it is relatively close by cosmic standards. The newly revised image emphasizes star-forming regions spurred. They spurred by the quartet’s gravitational dance. The color blue represents visible blue light. It also showcases young, hot and blue stars. The color red represents near-infrared light.