3 X-ray views of the Antenna galaxy
Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/G. Fabbiano et al.

Strip Mining

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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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!

Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:25:29 EDT