The Tadpole Galaxy

Tadpole Galaxy Tadpole Galaxy
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The Tadpole Galaxy is a disrupted barred spiral galaxy.  It is located about 130 Mpc (420 million light years) from us in the direction of the constellation Draco.  Astronomers believe that a smaller galaxy, the Intruder, crossed in front of the Tadpole Galaxy, from left to right as viewed from Earth.  The Intruder was slung around behind the Tadpole by their mutual gravitational attraction.  During this close encounter, tidal forces drew out the spiral galaxy's stars, gas, and dust, forming  the  long, conspicuous  tail, which  is  about  280,000 light-years long. 

The intruder galaxy itself, estimated to lie about 300 thousand light-years behind the Tadpole, can be seen through the foreground spiral arms at the upper left.  The Tadpole Galaxy will probably lose its tail as it ages, and the clusters of massive blue stars will become smaller satellites of the Tadpole galaxy.