Illustration of Comet-Like Objects Racing Through Galaxy's Center
This artist's illustration offers a "window seat" view of comet-like clouds of gas racing through the heart of the Cartwheel galaxy at 700,000 mph. The large orange and yellow pancake-like object is the galaxy's core, and the white streaks along its edges are the comet-like objects. The objects probably were spawned by a collision between high-speed and slow-moving material. The "heads" are a few hundred light-years across; the tails are several thousand light-years long. The string of bright lights in the background is the galaxy's outer ring of young stars. The galaxy is 500 million light-years away in the constellation Sculptor.
Credit: J. Gitlin (Space Telescope Science Institute), and NASA