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Picture of the Day

A celestial fireworks display

A giant collision of several galaxy clusters, each containing hundreds of galaxies, has produced this spectacular panorama of shocks and energy. The collisions generated shock waves that set off a celestial fireworks display of bright radio emission, seen as red and orange. In the center of the image, the purple indicates X-rays caused by extreme heating. The region is collectively known as Abell 2744, some 4 billion light-years from Earth. The radio portion of the image comes from new observations made with the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), and is combined with earlier data from NASA's Chandra X-ray observatory. The new VLA observations revealed previously undetected regions where shocks accelerated subatomic particles, causing radio emission.

Visit Website | Image credit: Pearce et al./Bill Saxton/NRAO/AUI/NSF/Chandra, Subaru/ESO