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A new image released by NASA shows a gorgeous display of fireworks in a galaxy located about 23 million light-years away.
However, it’s not paper, powder and actual fire that’s creating this stunning image, but a huge black hole, shock waves and vast amounts of gas, according to NASA.
The galaxy shown, NGC 4258, is well known for having two extra spiral arms that glow in X-ray, optical and radio light.
“The anomalous arms are seen in this new composite image, where X-rays from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory are blue, radio data from the NSF’s Karl Jansky Very Large Array are purple, optical data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope are yellow and infrared data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope are red,” the space agency explains in a statement.
NASA captured this image of a spiral galaxy some 23 light years away.
(NASA/CXC/Caltech/P.Ogle et al; Optical: NASA/STScI; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA)
As NASA notes, a new study made with the Spitzer telescope shows that shock waves, similar to the sonic booms from supersonic planes, are heating large amounts of gas — equivalent to about 10 million suns.
Scientists believe the black hole at the galaxy’s center is creating powerful jets of high-energy particles.
Those jets, in turn, strike the galaxy’s disk and generate shock waves.
Lastly, the shock waves heat the gas to thousands of degrees.