Galaxy drags trail of newborn stars

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It’s raining stars in Norma, a massive cluster of galaxies roughly 200 light-years from Earth.

And the source of this celestial storm? A galaxy plowing right through the center of Norma.

The galaxy, known as ESO 137-001, sits in the direction of the constellation Triangulum Australe. As it’s been barging through Norma, this galaxy has dragged filaments of gas and stars in its wake. Those star streams extend 260,000 light-years! That’s more than twice the length of our galaxy, the Milky Way.

The streamers formed when ESO-137-001 slammed into hot gas. Wind from the collision has been sweeping away debris from ESO-137-001. Think of it as confetti blowing off a parade float. The released gas clouds then collapse. This ignites new stars, bringing them to life.

The Hubble Space Telescope snapped pictures of the star streams. They blaze with the intense ultraviolet radiation of those new star births (which appear blue, in false color).

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