While some galaxies just go ahead and crash into each other head on, others will try to steal one another’s stars first. What you see above is actually known as tidal stripping where the larger galaxy sucks the stars out of the smaller galaxy before the two merge into one after billions of years.
The Double Cluster
Cat’s Eye Nebula
In 2002 the star V838 Monocerotis suddenly became 600,000 times brighter than the Sun. In fact, for a few weeks it was the brightest object in our galaxy. Moreover, due to something known as a light echo illuminating its surrounding rings of gas, the star appeared to be expanding rapidly as well. It has since died down, however, and astronomers are still no sure what caused the outburst.
Stellar Cluster R136
This colorful image shows an extremely volatile region of the Large Magellanic Cloud near our galaxy, the Milky Way. The red gasses you see are hydrogen, the green are oxygen, and the blue “diamonds” are actually some of the largest known stars in the universe with several being hundreds of times bigger than the Sun.
Heart and Soul Nebula
This infrared picture captured by Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer shows the Heart Nebula on the right and the Soul Nebula on the left. Located about 6,000 light years from Earth the image above spans a distance of about 580 light years.
The Pillars of Creation
There are few things in this universe that can make you feel smaller than this now famous image of what has come to be known as the “Pillars of Creation”. An aptly named cloud of dust and gas, it is responsible for the birth of millions of new stars and can be found 6,500 light years away from Earth. Each one of those gaseous arms you are looking at are in fact trillions of miles long.