Image Credit: Hubble Legacy Archive, ESA, NASA; Processing - Martin Pugh

This is a merging galaxy pair collectively called NGC 2623. This pairing can be found about 300-million light-years from Earth in the constellation Cancer.

This merger is in its final stages; because of this extremely violent event, star formation has been triggered throughout the structure, primarily seen in the tidal tails – these tails are more than 50,000 light-years long. Within the bright blue patches of cosmic dust are some of NGC 2623’s youngest stars.

This same type of merging event is what can be expected to happen to our own Milky Way as we merge with the Andromeda galaxy in some four-billion years.

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