According to NASA, the two galaxies shown colliding in the photo are gradually forming into a giant elliptical galaxy called NGC 3597, located about 150 million light-years away. Elliptical galaxies like NGC 3597 have grown more common over the universe’s history because, as time goes on, small galaxies gradually combine and build into larger structures. And while the galaxies in the photo did collide in a technical sense, it’s important to note that the stars rarely ever actually “touch” each other, but rather form into the same large group.
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