Galaxies with hearts of glass

A space telescope has snapped 21 colliding galaxies whose entangled hearts are smothered in crushed glass.
The star cities were pictured from orbit by Nasa’s Spitzer telescope and lie between 240million and 5.9billion light years away.
Astronomers believe the glass crystals were shed by massive stars before they blew themselves apart in supernova explosions.
It is the first time such crystals have been detected in a galaxy outside our own Milky Way.
Dr Henrik Spoon of Cornell University, New York, said: “We were surprised to find such delicate, little crystals in the centres of some of the most violent places in the universe.”
The discovery will help astronomers understand how galaxies evolve, including our Milky Way which will merge with the nearby Andromeda galaxy, M31, billions of years from now.

© Paul Sutherland. Unauthorised reproduction forbidden.

Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

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Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

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