PIA18852: Stray Stars Scattered in Space (Artist Concept)
 Mission:  CIBER
 Product Size:  2560 x 1440 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  JPL
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA18852.tif (11.06 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA18852.jpg (100.2 kB)

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This artist's concept shows a view of a number of galaxies sitting in huge halos of stars. The stars are too distant to be seen individually and instead are seen as a diffuse glow, colored yellow in this illustration. The CIBER rocket experiment detected this diffuse infrared background glow in the sky -- and, to the astronomers' surprise, found that the glow between galaxies equals the total amount of infrared light coming from known galaxies. This means a large number of stars may be flung out as galaxies collide and merge in the process of galaxy assembly.

This process of flinging out stars is thought to be more common today than in our universe's distant past. Our own Milky Way galaxy will collide with the Andromeda galaxy in about 5 billion years, tossing stars out into space. Though the process is gravitationally chaotic, the stars are far away from each other and will not directly collide.

Caltech manages JPL for NASA. The work was supported by NASA, with initial support provided by JPL's Director's Research and Development Fund. Japanese participation in CIBER was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.Korean participation in CIBER was supported by the Korean Astronomy and Space Science Institute.

For more information about CIBER, visit http://ciber.caltech.edu/rocket.html.

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