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This particular cluster is seen by the Hubble Space Telescope (@NASAHubble) and is rich since it contains at least 300 individual galaxies. Although we are still unsure how such gigantic things come to be, the current leading theory is that small clumps of matter collide and merge to grow ever larger. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
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Astronomers took this image as they were observing an extraordinary exploding star – a supernova – near the galaxy’s central yellow core! The star rapidly evolved from a supernova containing very little hydrogen to one that is hydrogen-rich — in just one year. This rarely observed metamorphosis was luminous at high energies and provides unique insight into the poorly understood final phases of massive stars. By studying similar galaxies we hold a scientific mirror up to our own, allowing us to build a better understanding of our galactic environment, which we cannot always observe, and of galactic behavior and evolution as a whole. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA/D. Milisavljevic (Perdue University)