This dazzling space wallpaper of the Antennae Galaxies shows obvious signs of chaos. Clouds of gas are seen in bright pink and red, surrounding the bright flashes of blue star-forming regions — some of which are partially obscured by dark patches of dust. The rate of star formation is so high that the Antennae Galaxies are said to be in a state of starburst, a period in which all of the gas within the galaxies is being used to form stars. This cannot last forever and neither can the separate galaxies; eventually the nuclei will coalesce, and the galaxies will begin their retirement together as one large elliptical galaxy. This image uses visible and near-infrared observations from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, along with some of the previously-released observations from Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys.
(Image: © ESA/Hubble & NASA)