SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Blue "Crab," Sun Tsunami, More

SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Blue ''Crab,'' Sun Tsunami, More
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November 20, 2009--Like a galactic autopsy, astronomers have cut through opaque dust in the nearby galaxy Centaurus A to find out what the giant has been eating.

Scientists had suspected that the dust lane covering Centaurus A's middle is the remnant of a smaller spiral galaxy that was consumed between 200 and 700 million years ago.

Now near-infrared pictures taken at the European Southern Observatory in La Silla, Chile, have captured the clearest view yet of what lies behind the dust: a "paralellogram" of star clusters that fits predictions of what a galaxy might look like after it merged with a larger cousin.
—Image courtesy ESO/Y. Beletsky
 
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