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Galactic Pyrotechnics on Display | A galaxy about 23 million light-years away is the site of impressive, ongoing, fireworks. Rather than paper, powder, and fire, this galactic light show involves a giant black hole, shock waves, and vast reservoirs of gas.

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The red arc in this infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope is a giant shock wave, created by a speeding star known as Kappa Cassiopeiae. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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#PencilNebula | This shock wave plows through space at over 500,000 kilometers per hour. Moving toward to bottom of this beautifully detailed color composite, the thin, braided filaments are actually long ripples in a sheet of glowing gas seen almost edge on. About 5 light-years long and a mere 800 light-years away, the Pencil Nebula is only a small part of the #VelaSupernovaRemnant.

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After a massive star in the Milky Way exploded, it produced a shock wave of high-energy particles, seen here in purple. In the background, you can see stars as imaged by the Digital Sky Survey. Chandra captured data on the shock wave in 2003. It is estimated to be 2,400 light-years away.

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Sh2-188, a planetary nebula, consists of a one-sided shell of material colliding with the interstellar medium, triggering shock wave structures. - Credit: Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope/Coelum

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Elbaite is a member of the tourmaline family. The pink variety of elbaite is called rubellite. The tourmaline family encompasses eleven minerals all with a ring arrangement of silicon, boron, and oxygen. All tourmalines have the special property called piezoelectricity. This means that they can acquire an electric charge when struck by an object, or subjected to high pressure, such as the shock wave from an explosion.

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The heliopause is the boundary between the heliosphere and the interstellar medium outside the Solar System. As the solar wind approaches the heliopause, it slows suddenly, forming a shock wave called the termination shock of the solar wind.

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