NGC 2608 is spiraling through space roughly 93 million light years from Earth. The galaxy is also known as Arp 12, due to its inclusion in astronomer Halton Arp’s catalogue called the “Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies“. This compendium, published in 1966, is a list of galaxies displaying unusual properties and evolutionary processes – at least they were considered unusual at the time the work was written. NGC 2608 falls under the catalogue’s “galaxies with split arms” category. It is now thought to be not one, but two celestial objects, consisting of a pair of interacting galaxies.
The large, bright light we see above the galaxy’s centre is actually a star from our own Milky Way, captured in the foreground. The light flares around the star are called diffraction spikes and are due to optics in the Hubble Space Telescope, which we can thank for this spectacular image.
Looking deep into the universe, the Hubble Space Telescope catches a passing glimpse of the numerous arm-like structures that sweep around this barred spiral galaxy, known as NGC 2608. Appearing as a slightly stretched, smaller version of our Milky Way, the peppered blue and red spiral arms are anchored together by the prominent horizontal