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Details of the Abell 68 Hubble Space Telescope Image



Distorted images of distant galaxies from the gravitationally lensing cludter Abell 68. In the middle of the image are a large number of galaxies stretched out into almost straight streaks of light that look like shooting stars. A coincidental red line appears to be piercing the nucleus of the spiral in the top left corner.

A spiral galaxy whose apparent shape has been stretched and mirror-morphed into the shape of an alien face. The two red "eyes" are probably a background galaxy's reddish nucleus being distorted into two by the lensing effect. A "head" and "neck" appears from the spiral arms that appear reddish when dust filled and bluish when spotted with bright, hot regions of star formation.

What appears to be purple liquid dripping from the galaxy is a phenomenon called ram pressure stripping. The gas clouds within the galaxy are being stripped out and heated up as the galaxy passes through a region of denser intergalactic gas. The purplish cast is a result of combining the blue (F814W) and red (F160W) infrared channels.