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Colliding galaxies mark Hubble anniversary

New set of galactic pile-up snaps released

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Aficionados of galactic pile-ups can avail themselves today of a set of 59 Hubble images of colliding galaxies, released to commemorate the 18th anniversary of the space telescope's launch.

The dramatic snaps, constituting the "largest collection of Hubble images ever released to the public", include this close encounter dubbed "Interacting Galaxy NGC 6050":

Hubble snap of Interacting Galaxy NGC 6050

Hubble is due for a final service by space shuttle Atlantis crew on mission STS-125, slated for a 28 August lift-off. It's hoped this will extend its working life until 2013, after which it will gradually shut down and eventually fall to Earth at the end of a long and distinguished career. ®

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