Spiral galaxy NGC 6872 is some five times the size of the Milky Way
The tidal dwarf galaxy seen here is thought to have been created by the collision of NGC 6872 and IC 4970
IC 4970's closest encounter is thought to have occurred 130 million years ago
A new study has led to the classification of NGC 6872 as the largest known spiral galaxy. The galaxy measures some 522,000 light-years across and resides 212 million light-years from earth. The stellar system exists in close proximity to the small disk galaxy IC 4970, which is thought to have recently collided with the larger system.
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