''Toothbrush,'' ''Firefly'' Among Galactic Smashups

''Toothbrush,'' ''Firefly'' Among Galactic Smashups
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If stars needed dental hygiene, the galaxy Markarian 273 would be ready for action.

The "bristles" of this toothbrush-shaped galaxy, about 500 million light-years away, are actually a region of intense star formation that produces about 60 times the mass of our sun worth of new stars each year.

The "handle" feature is about 130 thousand light-years long and is seen by astronomers as proof that the structure is the result of a galactic merger.

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—Image by NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University), K. Noll (STScI), and J. Westphal (Caltech)
 
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