Cartwheel in the Sky

This is the magnificent Cartwheel galaxy, a stellar structure which measures more than 100,000 light years across.

It was released to promote a 24-hour webcast from observatories around the world, marking the International Year of Astronomy.

The kaleidoscopic galaxy lies 500million light years from Earth, and its unusual shape is due to a catastrophic collision with one of the smaller galaxies on the lower left hundreds of millions of years ago.

The smaller galaxy produced compression waves in the gas of the Cartwheel as it plunged through it, which triggered bursts of star formation, lighting up the rim.


From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by sunnyspeaks.

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