Wednesday, June 6, 2007

What Happens When Two Galaxy Clusters Collide?

Astronomers have imaged what may be one of the most powerful events in the universe. It is a two-million-light-year jet of gas that's coming from a massive cluster of galaxies. Research leader Ralph Kraft of the Harvard Smihsonian Center for Astrophysics says that "The huge feature we detected in the cluster combined with its high temperature (170 million degrees Centigrade) points to an exceptionally dramatic event in the nearby Universe." The scientists believe that it's caused by two collossal galaxy clusters colliding. The jet is invisible in the optical range (top left picture) of the spectrum, but it is very clear in the x-ray image (top right picture).

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