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Astronomy – Colliding Stars Science and technology



tHIS PHOTO shows the 5,000-year effect of the merger between two stars – although the light that created it took another 6,000 years to reach the Earth’s quarter. It was published in Nature this week by Kerry Hodley of the California Institute of Technology and her colleagues. It is a composition of three images taken at different frequencies, two from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer, a space telescope operating from 2003 to 201

2, and one from the ground. The blue zone is the gas emitted during the merger. The faint red rings are the visible traces of shock waves from the resulting explosion. Such collisions are relatively common in binary star systems. But this image is considered one of the clearest consequences to date.

This article appeared in the “Science and Technology” section of the print edition under the heading “Colliding Stars”

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