Mergers and Acquisitions

The three galaxies just right of center—known to astronomers as SDSSCGB 10189—are on collision courses and will eventually merge into a single larger galaxy, distorting each other’s spiral structure through gravitational interaction. They are a relatively rare combination of three large star-forming galaxies lying within only 50,000 light-years of one another. Taht makes them extremely close neighbors. Our own large galactic neighbors are much further away; Andromeda is more than 2.5 million light-years away from the Milky Way.

An unrelated foreground galaxy appears to the left, and the smudged shapes of much more distant galaxies are visible in the background.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

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