Some Odd Behavior Was Detected in a Distant Galaxy

Imagine a sparkler, crackling and spitting, leaving behind a faint trail of smoke. Now imagine your surprise as, instead of dissipating away, that smoke trail actually got bright over time, or lit up. That’s effectively what astronomers have seen in the Abell 1033 system of colliding galaxy clusters about 1.6 billion light-years away — and they don’t understand it.

“This was totally unexpected,” said lead author Francesco de Gasperin of Leiden University in the Netherlands in a statement.

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