Like no other telescope ever invented, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space
Telescope has given us magnificent high resolution views of the
gigantic cosmic collisions between galaxies. Hubble's images are
snapshots in time and catch the colliding galaxies in different
stages of collision. Thanks to a new and amazing set of 60 Hubble
images, for the first time these different stages can be put
together to form a still-frame movielike montage showing the
incredible processes taking place as galaxies collide and
The significance of these cosmic encounters reaches far beyond
aesthetics. Galaxy mergers may, in fact, be some of the most
important processes that shape our universe. Colliding galaxies
very likely, hold some of the most important clues to our cosmic
past and to our destiny. It now seems clear that the Milky Way is
continuously undergoing merging events, some small scale, others on
a gigantic scale. And the importance of this process in the lives
of galaxies is much greater than what was previously thought.
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