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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The newly discovered collision of two galaxies millions of years ago, which sparked rings of fire that are still expanding, may offer new clues on the origins of the universe, astronomers said on Wednesday.
New images of the Andromeda Galaxy were captured by an infrared camera aboard the Spitzer Space Telescope and are described in the science journal 'Nature'.
The pictures offer fresh insight into the ever-changing nature of galaxies, said Harvard University astrophysicist Giovanni Fazio.
Fazio, the mastermind behind the Spitzer, is considered one of the world's top space pioneers.
"We thought it was a plain, ordinary galaxy with two companions around it. But now we understand its structure. It will be used as a computer model to understand and study the early universe," Fazio said.
The cosmic crash is believed to have happened 210 million years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth, but is a relatively recent occurrence in the grander scheme of time, scientists said.