Here is your weekly reminder of Psalm 19 — the Antennae Galaxies.
This spectacular pair of colliding spiral galaxies is located 45 million light-years from Earth. They started their encounter a few hundred million years ago, but the entire collision will likely last a couple billion years. Drawn together by their mutual gravitational attraction, they will undergo several passes and collisions before their stars and gas finally settle down to make a new, single galaxy. The interaction has sparked intense star formation, visible as the blue regions, surrounded by excited hydrogen gas, visible in pink.
The Antennae Galaxies derive their name from the long streams of stars that extend from the galaxies like antennae, seen in wider-field images, like the one below.
The Milky Way Galaxy is on a collision course with its nearest neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy. At some point during this future encounter, the collision will probably look much the same as the Antennae Galaxies:
Top image of the Antennae Galaxies, credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration. The wide-field ground-based image was taken by Robert Gendler.