Is it a Merger?
I am not sure whether the two galaxies are mergering or just overlap optically?
The edge on galaxy your looking at in the foreground is also called KUG 0235-004. It's hard to tell what the separation distance is between these two but if I was to hazard a guess and direction of travel (judging only by what I see in the print,) I would say that one passed the other and the foreground galaxy is experiencing some lateral / vertical gravitational buffeting (- for lack of a better word and how one orients their view.)
Now that said, the inverse with respect of direction of travel (maybe they are traveling toward one another,) may also be true depending on how fast they approach and this could be a pre - merger. I just don't know for sure with out more information.
This suggests an merger and slight overlap. Also from the appearance there still maybe a long or short tidal tail being coming from the background galaxy and causing the build up I see extending roughly 3/4 up the bottom of foreground or bluer elliptical. I would say gravity from the background galaxy is influencing the slight twist I see in the foreground as well.
What more or less brings me to that conclusion? Well the background galaxy seems rather tightly packed and the foreground one is spread out and scattering it's stars above and below the elliptical plane. They still seem to be influencing each other when the print was taken, but it's hard to say how far they are apart with out more information on distance and direction of travel.
Questions I end up with are what are the masses of each one? Material? Direction of spin? And what is their speed relative to one another?
by ElisabethB moderator
My slightly shorter conclusion is : hardly any distortion, so no merger but overlap for me ! 😄