When Galaxies Collide
Galaxies don't normally look like this. That's because this image of NGC 3256 shows two galaxies that are slowly colliding. Quite possibly, in hundreds of millions of years, only one galaxy will remain.
Today, however, NGC 3256 shows intricate filaments of dark dust, unusual tidal tails of stars and a peculiar center that contains two distinct nuclei. Although it is likely that no stars in the two galaxies will directly collide, the gas, dust, and ambient magnetic fields do interact directly. NGC 3256, part of the vast Hydra-Centaurus supercluster of galaxies.
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage (STScI / AURA) - ESA/Hubble Collaboration, & A. Evans (UVa, NRAO, SUNYSB)