Super-Colossal Space Tail Is Way Bigger Than The Milky Way

Animals have tails. So do shirts, kites and comets.

But you’ve never seen a tail like the one just discovered with the help of NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory space telescope. The luminous tail was observed streaming behind a distant galaxy — and it spans a distance of at least 250,000 light-years. That’s more than twice the diameter of our own Milky Way, which is home to our sun and more than 100 billion other stars.

The apparent gap between the tail and the galaxy, known as CGCG254-021, suggests that the galaxy has been completely stripped of its gas.

“In effect, the tail has been cut off from the galaxy,” study co-author Dr. Thomas Reiprich, also from the University of Bonn, said in the statement.

Big as it is, the tail is no match for the so-called Cold Spot, a stupendous cosmic bubble of sorts that astronomers say is some 1.8 billion light-years across. The Cold Spot may be the largest structure in the universe.

A paper describing the tail was published in the November 2015 issue of the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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