Galaxies Antennae II

This Hubble image of the Antennae galaxies, is the one of the clearest of two galaxies that are in the process of merging into one giant galaxy. As they collide, billions of new stars are created. This process began a few hundred million years ago and the bright spots in this amazing image are where all the star-forming action is.

The orange areas to the left and right of center are the two central cores of the original galaxies and are primarily made up of ancient stars with scattered filaments of dust, which appears brown. You can see vibrant blue star-forming regions surrounded by glowing hydrogen gas, shown in a pinkish color.

The Antennae galaxies get their name from  antenna-like "arms" extending out from the center of the two galaxies. We'll be going through a similar "merger" when the Andromeda galaxy merges with our own Milky Way in just a few million years from now. What a light show that will be!