Hubble views a galactic mega-merger
|NGC 3597 [Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Judy Schmidt]|
Before infirmity sets in, some freshly formed elliptical galaxies experience a final flush of youth, as is the case with NGC 3597. Galaxies smashing together pool their available gas and dust, triggering new rounds of star birth. Some of this material ends up in dense pockets initially called proto-globular clusters, dozens of which festoon NGC 3597. These pockets will go on to collapse and form fully-fledged globular clusters, large spheres that orbit the centers of galaxies like satellites, packed tightly full of millions of stars.
Source: NASA [January 17, 2016]