Image Tour: The Tadpole Galaxy

Video Player

Video Versions

This myriad of spiral, elliptical, infant, and strangely shaped galaxies spans the universe's 13-billion-year evolution.

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Sonoma State University

  • Images of the Tadpole Galaxy: STScI

Text, Image Tour, The Tadpole Galaxy.
Fast Facts. Location, Constellation Draco, The Dragon. Distance from Earth, four hundred and twenty million light-years. Size, 390,000 light-years across. Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope.
Against a stunning backdrop of thousands of galaxies, this odd-looking galaxy with a long streamer of stars appears to be racing through space, like a runaway pinwheel firework.
A bar appears at the bottom. Text, Tour Stops. Distorted Shape, Tidal Debris, Star Clusters, Background Galaxies. A box highlights the first stop, Distorted Shape.
Text, The Tadpole is a distorted spiral galaxy.
Its long streamer of debris was caused by the intrusion of a small galaxy, tightly packed with stars.
A bright cluster is circled in white and labeled, intruder galaxy.
Text, The intruder galaxy now lies about 300,000 light-years beyond the Tadpole.
The box on the tour bar highlights the next stop, Tidal Debris.
Text, Tides caused by the interaction with the intruder galaxy created a long tail of stars and gas that stretches out more than 280,000 light-years.
The box on the tour bar highlights the next stop, Star Clusters.
Text, Clusters of new blue stars, spawned by the collision between the Tadpole and the intruder galaxy, are visible in the long tail.
The clusters are highlighted.
Text, Each cluster contains some 100,000 massive stars.
These stars burn far hotter and brighter than our Sun.
The box on the tour bar highlights the next stop, Background Galaxies.
The Tadpole lies before a backdrop of about 6,000 more-distant galaxies.
The background galaxies are circled in white, then they are labeled, spiral, elliptical, and infant, respectively.
Text, This myriad of spiral, elliptical, and strangely shaped galaxies span the universe's 13-billion-year evolution.
The circles, labels, and text fade. Then, the tour stops reappear. Text, Distorted Shape, Tidal Debris, Star Clusters, Background Galaxies.