Dave forwarded me this email he received (which, he noted, was dated April 1, so it seemed a bit suspicious to him). The subject line of the email reads: DEEP-SPACE PHOTO: EP_4277.
The text reads: The subject of this photo is a very rare one indeed - taken by NASA with the Hubble space telescope. This is the only documented existence of a binary king galaxy in our known universe.
Astronomy is definitely not my expertise. I wouldn't even be able to find the Big Dipper on a clear night. So although I know what a binary galaxy is (two galaxies orbiting each other), I have no idea what a 'binary king galaxy' is. (A google search pulls up nothing for the term.) I was able to find out that the Hubble space telescope has photographed binary galaxies. For instance, see this BBC article from 1999
. But the 1999 image of a binary galaxy looks nothing like the image in Dave's email. So is the picture Dave sent really a Hubble space telescope image of the only binary king galaxy known to astronomers? I have no idea.
Thanks to Brian T. who found the original image
, lacking the 'binary king galaxy,' on the Hubble website, thereby proving that the above image is a fake. Now the question is, why did someone fake this? If it's a joke, I don't get it.