<p><strong>A <a style="font-size: 10px;" href="http://coolcosmos.ipac.caltech.edu/ask/217-What-is-a-spiral-galaxy-">spiral galaxy</a> shines in blues, purples, and reds in this composite image of <a style="font-size: 10px;" href="http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2014/m106/">NGC 4258</a> released July 2. The various colors denote X-rays (blue), radio waves (purple), visible light (blue and yellow), and infrared light (red) blasting from this cosmic swirl.</strong></p><p>NGC 4258 is also famous for two of its arms, which are not in the same plane as the rest of the galaxy. Instead, they intersect it. Researchers think they're formed when the shock waves produced by a supermassive black hole heat huge clouds of gas that bubble up from the galaxy.</p><p><em>—Jane J. Lee</em></p>

Purple Haze

A spiral galaxy shines in blues, purples, and reds in this composite image of NGC 4258 released July 2. The various colors denote X-rays (blue), radio waves (purple), visible light (blue and yellow), and infrared light (red) blasting from this cosmic swirl.

NGC 4258 is also famous for two of its arms, which are not in the same plane as the rest of the galaxy. Instead, they intersect it. Researchers think they're formed when the shock waves produced by a supermassive black hole heat huge clouds of gas that bubble up from the galaxy.

—Jane J. Lee

Photograph by X-ray: NASA/CXC/Caltech/P.Ogle et al; Optical: NASA/STScI; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA

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