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A Natural Fireworks Display - Windows to the Universe

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Hubble's latest image of the Antennae galaxies
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A Natural Fireworks Display
News story originally written on October 24, 1997

It must have looked like something straight out of the movie Contact. This wasn't a computer graphic though, it was nature's "firework" display. The Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered a pair of colliding galaxies. Within the galaxies are over 1,000 brilliant young star clusters.

The images that Hubble has taken are incredible! Scientists were also very impressed with the large number of young star clusters found in the colliding Antennae galaxies (called Antennae because of the long lines of stars that look like an insect's antennae) .

Dr. Francois Schweizer of the Carnegie Institution said, "This galaxy is an excellent laboratory for studying the formation of stars and star clusters since it is the nearest and youngest example of a pair of colliding galaxies." This is certainly a great discovery. It is likely to change what we know of star and galaxy formation.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF