Three galaxies are tearing each other apart in stunning new Hubble telescope image

Three galaxies collide in this stunning new Hubble Space Telescope image showing the galaxy cluster IC 2431 about 681 million light-years from Earth. (Image credit: ESA / Hubble & NASA, W. Keel, Dark Energy Survey, Department of Energy, Fermilab, Dark Energy Survey Camera, (DECam), Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, NoirLab / National Science Foundation / AURA, Sloan Digital Sky Survey; Acknowledgment: J. Schmidt)

Corkscrewing through the cosmos, three distant galaxies collide in a stunning new image captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

This cosmic crash is known as a triple galaxy merger, when three galaxies slowly draw each other nearer and tear each other apart with their competing gravitational forces. Mergers like these are common throughout the universe, and all large galaxies – including our own, the Milky Way – owe their size to violent mergers like this one.

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