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(CNN)An unusual triangle shape formed by two galaxies crashing together in a cosmic tug-of-war has been captured in a new image taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
The head-on collision between the two galaxies fueled a star-forming frenzy, creating "the oddball triangle of newly minted stars," according to a NASA news release.
The dueling pair of galaxies is collectively called Arp 143. The one at the center of the stellar triangle is a galaxy known as NGC 2445, awash in star birth-triggering gases, and its less flashy counterpart is NGC 2444.
NASA suggested that the galaxies passed through each other, igniting a firestorm of stars bursting into life in the NGC 2445 galaxy.
"Simulations show that head-on collisions between two galaxies is one way of making rings of new stars," said astronomer Julianne Dalcanton of the Flatiron Institute's Center for Computational Astrophysics in New York City and the University of Washington in Seattle, in the news release.
"Rings of star formation are not uncommon. However, what's weird about this system is that it's a triangle of star formation. Part of the reason for that shape is that these galaxies are still so close to each other and NGC 2444 is still holding on to the other galaxy gravitationally."
The pair of galaxies are waging a tug-of-war, which the NGC 2444 galaxy that's not surrounded by the star triangle appears to be winning, NASA said.
"NGC 2444 may also have an invisible hot halo of gas that could help to pull NGC 2445's gas away from its nucleus. So they're not completely free of each other yet, and their unusual interaction is distorting the ring into this triangle," Dalcanton said.
NGC 2444 is also responsible for pulling strands of gas from its partner, attracting young, blue stars that appear to form a bridge between the two galaxies.
Although most of the action is happening in NGC 2445, the other galaxy in the interacting pair has been stretched into an odd shape. This galaxy contains old stars and no new star formation.
The Hubble Space Telescope is a collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency.