The Antennae Galaxies represent a merging pair of galaxies at a distance of 50 to 60 million light years away in the constellation Corvus. A similar process may occur when our Milky Way galaxy combines with the Andromeda galaxy in a few billion years. The spiral galaxies NGC 4038 (lower in image) and NGC 4039 (upper) began to collide a few hundred million years ago. The focal blue star-like areas that are most prominent in the NGC 3038 actually represent young clusters each containing thousands of stars. The NASA website reports that about a hundred of the most massive clusters are believed to be young globular clusters. The brown dusty cores of the original galaxies merge in the center. The Antennae galaxies are named after their long "tidal tails" which developed during the first interaction of the galaxies between 200 to 300 million years ago.
The image above was obtained with 35 minutes red, 20 minutes green, and 40 minutes of blue exposures binned 2 x 2. A QSI583wsg camera was used through an Astrophysics Ricardi Honders 12" astrograph.
The image below was obtained with 60 minutes of clear luminance binned 2 x 2, and 30 minutes red, and 40 minutes each of blue and green exposures, binned 3 x 3. An ST10XME was used unbinned through a Meade 12" LX200R at f/10..