Telescope captures rings formed from galaxy collision
A space telescope has capturedexpanding fiery rings ofglowing dustfrom anewly discovered head-on collision of two galaxies that happened 210 million years ago, astronomers say.
New images of the Andromeda galaxy, the giant galaxy next to theMilky Way,were captured by an infrared camera aboard the Spitzer Space Telescope and are described in the latest editionof the science journal Nature.
The discoveryoffers a vivid glimpse intohow galaxies change andmay offer new clues on the origins of the universe, scientists involved with the project said.
A computer model took the images from the telescope and depicted how a small galaxy hit the centre of Andromeda with such force that it fired off new stars, space dust and two flaming red rings.
Astronomers said therings had aripple effect similar to a stone dropped in water and continuing to spread at a rate of 50 kilometres a second.
The Andromeda galaxy is easily visible to thenaked eyein a moderately dark sky.