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Galaxy AM 0644-741 was once a normal spiral galaxy. Sometime in the far distant millions of years ago, there was a collision of cosmic proportions. An intruder galaxy plunged headlong through its very core, profoundly disrupting its gravitational field. Vast shock waves of matter, stars and gases, dust and vapor, suddenly flew outward, collapsing together, forming millions of new stars as they hurtled away from the disrupted core.
Eventually, the outward momentum succumbed to the gravitational forces of the remains of the core and a sparkling blue ring of rapidly coalescing star matter settled into an oddly elliptical orbit . . . hence the nickname “Warped Ring” Galaxy.
AM 0644-741, the Warped Ring Galaxy, lies 300 million light-years away in the direction of the southern constellation Volans (“the flying fish”). The blue color is due to the density of newly formed, extremely hot stars. The pink tinted haze is hydrogen gas fluorescing in the intense ultraviolet light emitted by the star foundries.