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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
- 10 April 2014 11:44 am , Vol. 344 , #6180
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ScienceShot : Odd Galaxy Raises Many Questions
12 August 2010 1:19 pm
Something unusual and mysterious has happened to NGC 4696. Located about 150 million light-years away in the constellation Centaurus, the object is an elliptical galaxy. That should mean a previous collision with another galaxy ripped off its spiral arms, stripped away most of its interstellar gas, and condemned it to a slow death. But NGC 4696 has sprouted something never seen on another galaxy: a huge swirl of dust that stretches for tens of thousands of light-years and whips back around like a question mark. Observations by the Hubble Space Telescope released today show another first: filaments of ionized, or charged, hydrogen gas branching from the dust swirl. And views in x-ray light (not shown) reveal super-powerful jets of matter squirting from the galaxy's central black hole at nearly the speed of light. Together, these features show that NGC 4696 is a galaxy like no other. Astronomers suspect that the filament resulted from some sort of gravitational interaction with another galaxy, possibly a collision.
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