Hubble captures remarkable images of two ‘overlapping’ spiral galaxies

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The Hubble Space Telescope captured this beautiful image of two spiral galaxies that appear to overlap in the sky. SDSS J115331 and LEDA 2073461, the two galaxies in the image, lie more than a billion light years from our planet.

Even though it looks like the two galaxies are colliding in the image, the two galaxies are not interacting and they just appear aligned from Hubble’s perspective. This image of two seemingly overlapping distant spiral galaxies was taken based on highlights from the space agency’s Galaxy Zoo project.

Created in 2007, the Galaxy Zoo Project is a large citizen science project that collects galaxy classifications from thousands of volunteers. These volunteers classify galaxies from images taken by robotic telescopes. They help scientists sort through the vast amounts of data generated by these telescopes.

The most astronomically intriguing objects selected as part of the Galaxy Zoo project are put to a public vote before Hubble makes follow-up observations. SDSS J115331 and LEDA 2073461 were such selected astronomical objects.

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Since its inception, the project has contributed to over 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers and the classification of over 40 million galaxies. The success of the Galaxy Zoo project has also inspired the Zooniverse portal, which hosts many such projects that use similar techniques to help scientists in various fields of astronomy.

Each galaxy in the Galaxy Zoo project is identified by multiple participants, as these multiple independent classifications can help scientists gauge the reliability of the results. Scientists then use the classifications provided by the project to allocate valuable telescope time based on the needs of science projects.

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