Seeing the Andromeda galaxy in a new light

Written by: Manoj Kumar Ramesh
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Washington, Jan 6 (ANI): ESA's Herschel and XMM-Newton space observatories have revealed the Andromeda Galaxy in a new light, showing that that more stars are on their way.

Andromeda, like many other galaxies, is spiral but more interesting because it shows a large ring of dust about 75,000 light-years across encircling the center of the galaxy.

XMM-Newton highlights hundreds of X-ray sources within Andromeda, many of them clustered around the center, where the stars are naturally found to be more crowded together.

Both the infrared and X-ray images show information that is impossible to collect from the ground because these wavelengths are absorbed by Earth's atmosphere.

The images show that one star has already died and is pulling gas from its still-living companion. As the gas falls through space, it heats up and gives off X-rays. The living star will eventually be greatly depleted, having much of its mass torn from it by the stronger gravity of its denser partner.

Visible light shows the adult stars, whereas infrared shows the younger stars and X-rays show those in their death throes. (ANI)

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