Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Colliding Galaxies Leave Debris

"Galactic Collisions Leave Cosmic Skid Marks "
Space.com (June 9, 2009)

"Cosmic debris stripped away from the wreck of colliding galaxies has been found by the Subaru telescope atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

"The debris fields could shed light on galaxy formation and starburst activity in the early universe by allowing astronomers to retrace the paths of the colliding galaxies before they merged.

" 'This is equivalent to finally being able to trace the skid marks on the road when investigating a car wreck,' said team member Nick Scoville of the California Institute of Technology...."

The article tells a bit about why finding new debris from a galactic collision is important to better understanding of what happened. The debris field is connected to "the Antenna" galaxies, a pair that's about 65,000,000 light years away. The field is big: several times the size of the Milky Way Galaxy.

As is usual with cosmological studies, the results won't have much effect on the price of gasoline or who wins the next World Series. But, I find humanity's continuing efforts to understand the universe a story that's worth following.

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