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Space dust enigma

COLOURS OF LIFE?: The Pinwheel galaxy, also known as Messier 101, sports bright reddish edges in this infrared image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Research based on Spitzer data has revealed that this outer red zone lacks organic molecules present in the rest of the galaxy. The red-and-blue spots outside of the spiral are either foreground stars or more distant galaxies. The organics, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, are dusty, carbon-containing molecules that help form stars. Scientists believe this space dust has the potential to be converted into the stuff of life. Spitzer found that the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons decrease in concentration toward the outer portion of the Pinwheel galaxy,

COLOURS OF LIFE?: The Pinwheel galaxy, also known as Messier 101, sports bright reddish edges in this infrared image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Research based on Spitzer data has revealed that this outer red zone lacks organic molecules present in the rest of the galaxy. The red-and-blue spots outside of the spiral are either foreground stars or more distant galaxies. The organics, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, are dusty, carbon-containing molecules that help form stars. Scientists believe this space dust has the potential to be converted into the stuff of life. Spitzer found that the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons decrease in concentration toward the outer portion of the Pinwheel galaxy,   | Photo Credit: — PHOTO: AP

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