NGC 6052 can certainly be classified as an irregular galaxy. Its abnormal layout comes by way of a mash-up of two separate galaxies. At this point of the merger, things a pretty chaotic in this neighborhood. Stars get thrown out of their original orbits, clouds of gas and dust collide, and waves of new star formation paint bright blue patches across the scene. In the long run, the gravitational forces that drew the two galaxies together to create this tumultuous scene will create a “new” galaxy with a more harmonious look.
Astronomers used the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 on the Hubble Space Telescope to capture this scene unfolding 230 million light-years away in the constellation Hercules.
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt