Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/G. Fabbiano et al.
Exploding stars reveal complex atoms cooked up in the hot stellar interior. Colliding galaxies can cook up hot stars which explode enriching the galactic wreckage with complex atoms. The image above is an X-ray image of the Antenna Galaxy as viewed by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. In the upper image Chandra sees X-ray emission the hot gas produced as a result of a collision between two galaxies in the dim past. The image on the lower left shows a close-up of a bright region where the collision has produced shock heated gas, while the image on the lower right shows X-ray emission produced by atoms of iron (in red), magnesium (in green) and silicon (in blue). Such "heavy elements" are key building blocks for planets and life.
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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:25:29 EDT