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ESA/Hubble & NASA

NASA's Hubble telescope has spotted a stunning image of an unusual galaxy duo dubbed -- IRAS 06076-2139 -- in constellation Lepus (the Hare). Lepus is a constellation lying just south of the celestial equator, immediately south of Orion.

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The duo galaxy was spotted from a distance of 500 million light years, with the help of the Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) and Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS).

This particular object stands out from the crowd by actually being composed of two separate galaxies rushing past each other at about two million kilometres (1,243,000 miles) per hour, NASA said.

The pace of these galaxies is way too swift for them to unite and form a single galaxy. But as the separation between them is small, around 20,000 light-years, these galaxies will distort with the help of the gravitational force while passing by, transforming each others' structures significantly.

It is a common phenomenon for Hubble to capture such activities, which are being analysed by astronomers across the world. These interesting behaviours among galaxies can lead to numerous forms like galactic cannibalism, galaxy harassment and even galaxy collisions.

"The Milky Way itself will eventually fall victim to the latter, merging with the Andromeda Galaxy in about 4.5 billion years. The fate of our galaxy shouldn't be alarming though: while galaxies are populated by billions of stars, the distances between individual stars are so large that hardly any stellar collisions will occur," NASA said in a statement.