This Galaxy Is Built For SpeedS

Check out this galaxy's weird curved shape, almost like an arrow-head. That's because it's hurtling through the Fornax cluster 600 km per second. Picture it screaming in fear and exhilaration as it roars towards a galactic collision.

The Bad Astronomer, Phil Plait, explains:

NGC 1427A looks like it's got a swept-back shape because it's being swept back. In between galaxies there is an ethereally-thin fog of gas, but there's enough there to have an effect on a passing galaxy. The boomerang shape of the galaxy is because that side is facing into the wind, so to speak, and being compressed. The pink curve in the image is due to rigorous star-formation going on there, where the gas clouds are collapsing from the pressure and birthing stars at a prodigious rate.

The rest of Phil's explanation is well worth checking out. [Discover Magazine]