The Impending Destruction of NGC 1427A
What happens when a galaxy falls in with the wrong crowd? The irregular galaxy NGC 1427A is a spectacular example of the resulting stellar rumble. Under the gravitational grasp of a large gang of galaxies, called the Fornax cluster, the small bluish galaxy is plunging headlong into the group at 600 km/sec or nearly 400 mi/sec.
The Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys was used to obtain images of NGC 1427A in visible (green), red, and infrared filters in January 2003.
NGC 1427A will not survive long as an identifiable galaxy passing through the cluster. Within the next billion years, it will be completely disrupted, spilling its stars and remaining gas into intergalactic space within the Fornax cluster.
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)