As NASA reports, some believe that we see galaxies in different stages of their evolution. The space agency describes this photo as “a pair of colliding galaxies called NGC 6240 show[ing] them in a rare, short-lived phase of their evolution just before they merge into a single, larger galaxy. The prolonged, violent collision has drastically altered the appearance of both galaxies and created huge amounts of heat — turning NGC 6240 into an infrared luminous active galaxy.”
This image was created by data sent by the Hubble and Spitzer Space telescopes. Ultimately, some galaxies can even destroy their neighbors, such as when a supermassive black hole from one galaxy can blast another with a huge beam of energy.