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This picture of the galaxy UGC 10214 was was taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), which was installed aboard the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in March 2002 during HST Servicing Mission 3B (STS-109 mission). Dubbed the "Tadpole," this spiral galaxy is unlike the textbook images of stately galaxies. Its distorted shape was caused by a small interloper, a very blue, compact galaxy visible in the upper left corner of the more massive Tadpole. The Tadpole resides about 420 million light-years away in the constellation Draco. Seen shining through the Tadpole's disk, the tiny intruder is likely a hit-and-run galaxy that is now leaving the scene of the accident. Strong gravitational forces from the interaction created the long tail of debris, consisting of stars and gas that stretch our more than 280,000 light-years. The galactic carnage and torrent of star birth are playing out against a spectacular backdrop: a "wallpaper pattern" of 6,000 galaxies. These galaxies represent twice the number of those discovered in the legendary Hubble Deep Field, the orbiting observatory's "deepest" view of the heavens, taken in 1995 by the Wide Field and planetary camera 2. The ACS picture, however, was taken in one-twelfth of the time it took to observe the original HST Deep Field. In blue light, ACS sees even fainter objects than were seen in the "deep field." The galaxies in the ACS picture, like those in the deep field, stretch back to nearly the begirning of time. Credit: NASA, H. Ford (JHU), G. Illingworth (USCS/LO), M. Clampin (STScI), G. Hartig (STScI), the ACS Science Team, and ESA.
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