Thursday, December 20, 2007

Big galaxy picks on smaller galaxy

Wired reports: [edited]

The latest act of senseless violence caught on tape is cosmic in scope: A black hole in a "death star galaxy" blasting a neighbouring galaxy with a deadly jet of radiation and energy.

A fleet of space and ground telescopes have captured images of this cosmic violence, which people have never witnessed before, according to a new study released Monday by NASA.

"It's like a bully, a black-hole bully punching the nose of a passing galaxy," said astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York.

The larger galaxy has a multi-digit name but has been dubbed the "death star galaxy" by Daniel Evans of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Tens of millions of stars, including those with orbiting planets, are in the path of the deadly jet, said study co-author Martin Hardcastle of the University of Hertfordshire.

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