Arp 272 is located in the constellation of Hercules and is approximately 450 million light-years distant.
Galactic collisions and mergers are now known to be common place in the observable universe. Arp 272 is an example of such a collision. The large galaxy, NGC 6050, and the smaller galaxy, IC 1179, are in the process of merging. The small galaxy located at the top of the two larger galaxies is thought to be part of the merger. Perhaps it was a satellite of one of the larger galaxies and now is being drawn into this galactic train wreak. Our own Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy are rushing toward each other and, in about 3 billion years, will collide in much the same manner as Arp 272.
This image was cropped from the full WFPC2 field of view to display the merging galaxies The full, uncropped, image may be view here.
The image above was assembled with data obtained from the Hubble Legacy Archive. Three filtered images were used for the red, green and blue channels. These were imaged using filters of F814W for red, F555W for green and F450W for blue. An image consisting of a combination of all available filters was used for the luminance channel. This image is classified in the Hubble Legacy Archive as a detection, or white light, image. The color image was created as a standard LRGB image.
1Based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, and obtained from the Hubble Legacy Archive, which is a collaboration between the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI/NASA), the Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility (ST-ECF/ESA) and the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre (CADC/NRC/CSA).