NGC 6240

The notorious merging and infrared-bright galaxy NGC 6240 in Ophiuchus, seen in a composite of BVR CCD images obtained with the ESO/MPI 2.2m telescope at La Silla, Chile. Logarithmic mapping has been used to stress detail over a wide dynamic range. A double nucleus may be the last vestige of one of the pre-merger galaxies, while tidal tails betray the strong gravitational interaction between the former galaxies. The reddish color of the innermost regions is due to a large amount of dust absorption, preferntially blocking blue light. This galaxy became well-known when the IRAS satellite found it to have an enormous far-infared luminosity; this is one of the prototype "IRAS galaxies".

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