"There are so many chances, so many worlds, pouring down on us. Like most people I take no notice and let them flow away, aeons breaking back into the universes where they were made. We are universes dripping with worlds. All we have to do is choose. " - Jeanette Winterson. Photo: Newly discovered galaxy, SMM J2135-0102
Using ESO's Very Large Telescope, an international team of astronomers has discovered a stunning rare case of a triple merger of galaxies. This system, which astronomers have dubbed 'The Bird' - albeit it also bears resemblance with a cosmic Tinker Bell - is composed of two massive spiral galaxies and a third irregular galaxy.
Located 500 million light-years away in the constellation Sculptor, the galaxy looks like a wagon wheel. The galaxy's nucleus is the bright object in the center of the image; the spoke-like structures are wisps of material connecting the nucleus to the outer ring of young stars. The galaxy's unusual configuration was created by a nearly head-on collision with a smaller galaxy about 200 million years ago.