R-Rated: Space Telescopes Witness Cosmic 'Bloodbath'

March 4, 2014 9:21 PM

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R-Rated: Space Telescopes Witness Cosmic 'Bloodbath'

If the Universe made a slasher flick, it would star the innocent ESO 137-001 and violent baddie Abell 3627. In one scene, the beautiful ESO 137-001 would drift unwittingly into the apparently serene heart of Abell 3627. Then [cut scene] the proverbial Cosmic Blender switches on, ripping through the ESO 137-001’s once elegant spiral arms, blasting its ‘guts’ into intergalactic space.

As witnessed by the Hubble Space Telescope and NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, this observation of the violent outcome of a galactic encounter is beautifully captured. ESO 137-001 is seen, being ripped apart, as is careens through the heart of Abell 3627, a huge galaxy cluster in the southern cons...

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