Hubble Sees an Epic Merger of Three Galaxies

A spectacular trio of merging galaxies in the constellation Boötes takes center stage in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. These three galaxies are set on a collision course and will eventually merge into a single larger galaxy, distorting one another’s spiral structure through mutual gravitational interaction in the process. An unrelated foreground galaxy appears to float serenely near this scene, and the smudged shapes of much more distant galaxies are visible in the background. Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, M. Sun

When is 50,000 light-years only a small distance? When three galaxies are that close to one another. At that range, they’re fiercely interacting.

In the case of the three galaxies referred to as SDSSCGB 10189, they’re 50,000 light-years apart and growing closer as they merge into a single massive galaxy.

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