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Cosmic bird

© CNRS Photothèque/Martin Hytch © CNRS Photothèque/Martin Hytch

650 million light years away, the IRAS 19115-2124 twin galaxies were already known to us thanks to the images of the Hubble Satellite. When instruments able to pierce the atmospheric layers above the ESO’s European Very Large Telescope, based in Chile, were trained on these galaxies, they offered a pleasant surprise for the international team observing this distant target. The duo is in fact a trio. This extremely rare example of a mix of galaxies on such a scale takes the impressive appearance of a bird in flight. The third galaxy forms its “head” (at the top) with what seems to be an intense array of stars.