Optical CCD image of two interacting galaxies

Optical CCD image of two interacting galaxies

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Credit: DR RUDOLPH SCHILD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Optical CCD (Charge Coupled Device) image of the two interacting galaxies forming the system NGC 3690. NGC 3690 is also one of the strongest MASER emitters. MASER is an acronym for Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation and describes a process identical in theory to lasers. In MASER emission some molecules, such as the OH radical and the water molecule H2O, absorb energy either from collisions with other molecules or from stellar radiation and convert this energy into strong emission lines at radio wavelengths. The resulting strength of such emission lines is millions of times stronger than expected in normal interstellar clouds.

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Keywords: astronomy, cosmology, galactic, galaxy, interacting, interacting galaxy, interacting interaction, maser emission, ngc 3690, science

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