Image of the Day: Starbursts — Relics of Ancient Cosmic Collisions

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Sometime about 100 million years ago, a smaller galaxy passed directly through the center of the Cartwheel galaxy creating awesome shock wave, which caused bursts of star formation. The bright blue ring marks the region where huge, powerful ultraviolet-emitting stars have formed. The inner orange ring is the second wave, but this has far less star formation than the first wave. It is not known if the colliding galaxy was one of the two at lower left. The images were taken in X-rays by the Chandra Space Telescope (purple), in UV by GALEX (blue), in green light by the Hubble Space Telescope, and in infrared by the Spitzer Space Telescope (red). When the origins of life in the Universe are finally decoded, we think the answer will be found buried deep within those massive incubators we call "stars."

The Daily Galaxy via NASA/JPL

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