31 Dec '16, 9am

2 merging galaxies discovered that act like a huge, cosmic laser | MNN - Mother Nature Network

2 merging galaxies discovered that act like a huge, cosmic laser | MNN - Mother Nature Network

Take one look at this eyeball-shaped galaxy and you might think that it looks ordinary enough, but look a little closer and you'll find something extraordinary. The mysterious galaxy, IRAS 16399-0937, is actually an enormous cosmic laser. This is the most detailed image ever taken of the galaxy, which sits 370 million light-years away from Earth. One reason it looks relatively innocuous is that IRAS 16399-0937's laser does not fire in visible light; it fires a microwave beam instead. This technically makes it a "maser" (a microwave laser). Or rather, it's a megamaser, due to its galactic size, according to NASA . The maser is generated a bit by accident. The galaxy's molecular clouds just happen to be in the correct simulated physical condition to amplify microwave radiation passing through them, centralizing them into a primary beam. Large clouds in our own galaxy have be...

Full article: http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/space/stories/two-mergin...

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