Celebrating the 18th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope, 59 new pictures have been released by the Space Science Telescope Institute.

Colliding galaxies

The images are a snapshot back in time. Only one in a million galaxies are caught in the act of colliding.

Collisions resulting in galaxies merging together were common long ago where the material from the big bang was closer together and had not yet expanded out to the extent it has today. The light from these galaxies takes millions of years to cross space. When we see the light it is a view to how the galaxies looked millions of years ago.

Hubble will be replaced by the James Webb Space Telescope in 2013.

The new images are available at: http://hubblesite.org/news/2008/16.