Hubble Space Telescope Photo Reveals Merging Galaxies

What the cosmic event 30 million light-years away looks like.

"Here, we are witnessing two or more galaxies in the act of merging together to form a single new galaxy. Each galaxy has lost almost all traces of its original appearance, as stars and gas have been thrown by gravity in an elaborate cosmic whirl," a NASA blog post explained.

The violence of the merging process makes it difficult to determine how many galaxies are a part of the event -- or their individual characteristics. NASA said the yellow and red stars seen on the outskirts of the galaxy are older, while the bright blue stars in the center are likely the result of the galactic merger.