Thursday, August 21, 2008

Monster magnets support lovely space lace pattern

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Giant magnetic tentacles are the force that keeps a lacy pattern of glowing gas filaments in the giant elliptical galaxy NGC 1275 from evaporating in the surrounding hot gas or collapsing under the weight of their own gravity, British astronomers said on Wednesday.

The discovery, courtesy of images captured by NASA'S Hubble Space Telescope, helps explain how this delicate pattern has held up for more than 100 million years, and may prove useful in understanding similar structures in even more distant galaxies, they said.

NGC 1275 is one of the closest giant elliptical galaxies and lies at the center of the Perseus Cluster of galaxies some 250 million light years from Earth. A light year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles

No comments: