Saturday, September 25, 2004

Smashing Big Time

A Bang Almost As Big as the Big One
Thanks to the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton observatory, an international team of scientists has observed a nearby head-on collision of two galaxy clusters that has smashed together thousands of galaxies and millions upon millions of stars. It is one of the most powerful events ever witnessed. Such collisions are second only to the Big Bang in total energy output. The event details what the scientists are calling the perfect cosmic storm: galaxy clusters that collided like two high-pressure weather fronts and created hurricane-like conditions, tossing galaxies far from their paths and churning shock waves of 100-million-degree gas through intergalactic space. The tiny dots in this artist's concept are galaxies containing thousand million of stars

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