MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustration showing the merging of two small galaxies into a larger one. The sequence begins with two spiral galaxies. As they approach each other, tidal forces come into play which begin to distort the galaxies and pull streamers of stars away from them. Over time, the cores of the two galaxies merge, while the streamers get pulled back in to form a larger, elliptical galaxy.
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