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News Release 114 of 291

June 13, 2006 01:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2006-26

Hubble Eyes Star Birth in the Extreme

June 13, 2006: Staring into the crowded, dusty core of two merging galaxies, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered a region where star formation has gone wild.

The interacting galaxies appear as a single, odd-looking galaxy called Arp 220. The galaxy is a nearby example of the aftermath of two colliding galaxies. In fact, Arp 220 is the brightest of the three galactic mergers closest to Earth. This latest view of the galaxy is yielding new insights into the early universe, when galactic wrecks were more common. The sharp eye of Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys has unveiled more than 200 mammoth star clusters. The clusters are the bluish-white dots scattered throughout the image.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, and C. Wilson (McMaster University)