Paris, April 25 : A series of 59 new images of colliding galaxies, the largest collection ever published simultaneously, has been released from archived raw Hubble space telescope images.
The Hubble, which is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency), released the collection of 59 images was released to mark the 18th anniversary of the telescope's launch.
The plethora of interacting galaxies that the images show, are found throughout the Universe, sometimes in dramatic collisions that trigger bursts of star formation, on other occasions as stealthy mergers that form new galaxies. Galaxy mergers, which were more common in the early Universe than they are today, are thought to be one of the main driving forces for cosmic evolution, turning on quasars, sparking frenetic star births and explosive stellar deaths.
Apparently, isolated galaxies will show signs in their internal structure that they have experienced one or more mergers in their past.
Each of the various merging galaxies in the Hubble's series of images is a snapshot of a different instant in the long interaction process.