The clashing galaxies are expected to eventually merge into a single, behemoth galaxy up to 10 times as massive as our own Milky Way.More info over here.
Details of the research appear in Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The rare observation offers an unprecedented look at how the most massive galaxies in the Universe are formed.
Collisions, or mergers, between galaxies are common in the Universe. Mergers between one large galaxy and several small ones, called "minor mergers", have been well documented.
Astronomers have also observed "major" mergers among pairs of galaxies that are similar in size. But, until now, no major mergers between multiple large galaxies have been seen.
"It's the first one that I know about. So far, nobody has written to me to say they've found another four-way merger," said co-author Kenneth Rines, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, in Cambridge, US.
Four-way merging galaxies spotted
Posted on Thursday, Aug 09 2007 @ 03:10 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck