Tendril in the Night

Tendril in the Night

Because I like it.


3 comments on “Tendril in the Night

  1. It comes from Space.com. For some background, a tendril is a piece of a plant which wraps itself around what it touches in order to climb. Darwin described them in quite a bit of detail in one of his works post-Origin.

    Here’s the description of what this image is from the above link.

    Long tendrils stretching across 400,000 light-years connect a disturbed spiral galaxy to an elliptical galaxy, as seen by the Mayall telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona.

    A suspected high-speed collision took place between the elliptical M86 (right) and spiral NGC 4438 (left), as evidenced by the long red filaments of ionized hydrogen gas in this image. The green filament barely visible at the lower right edge of the image shows higher-velocity gas that may not be related to M86.

    Astronomers suspect that galactic run-ins such as this are responsible for the mystery of why the biggest galaxies in the universe stop forming stars. Previous research had tentatively fingered massive black holes as the culprit, but high-speed collisions appear to heat up gas so much that they cannot cool enough to form stars. By contrast, low-speed collisions often boost star formation by concentrating gas without the overheating.

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