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Spiral galaxy named NGC613
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of Ohio State University

Spiral Galaxie Collisions Occur More Often
News story originally written on May 11, 1999

Scientists are finding strong evidence thatspiral galaxies have collisions or near collisions more often than once thought. It was originally believed that one third of all the spiral galaxies have experienced this interaction. However, a new camera developed at Ohio State University sheds new light on the subject.

The camera, called an InfraRed Imager and Spectrometer, takes pictures in the infrared region like a regular camera takes pictures in visible light. This new technology allows scientists to look through dust in the center of the galaxies, where the important information is located.

In the center of spiral galaxies lie bar-shaped bands or stars called barred spirals. It is believed that these barred spirals are caused by collisions. Using the infrared camera, scientists have discovered many more barred spirals in galaxies.

"Infrared observing gives us a chance to learn new things about galaxies, things that we just couldn't figure out before," said Jay Progel, professor of astronomy at Ohio State. "We get a much clearer picture of what galaxies really look like."

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