Behold all the wonders of space with these glorious photos! First up is a two-galaxy collision that formed the system known as Arp 269, captured by the Hubble space telescope. The pair became entangled when galaxy NGC 4490’s gravity drew in the much smaller galaxy NGC 4485 over millions of years. Eventually, they merged becoming one massive star-making event. The celestial neighbors are now slowly drifting apart, but will inevitably collide again.
Hubble also photographed Comet C/2017 K2 PANSTARRS, the farthest active inbound comet ever spotted, located 1.5 billion miles away. The ball of ice and dust traveled millions of years after being tossed from the Oort Cloud, a region known for producing many of our solar system’s comets. The European Space Agency also released comet photos this week with a montage of highlights from the Rosetta space probe. The 210 black-and-white images showcase the many facets of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko during Rosetta’s two-year mission.
And finally, the European Space Observatory’s Very Large Telescope captured the stunning Saturn Nebula. While it looks almost nothing like the planet Saturn, the formerly low-mass star does boast glittering rings of dust and gas.
If you’re still not finished admiring the incredible cosmos, check out the entire collection.