Summer Buddy Holly (2)

There is, after all, so much to unpack.

(High, so high that it ceases to be called anything so mundane as sky, there is NGC 4631, otherwise known as the Whale Galaxy. The Hubble Space Telescope has peered deep within NGC 4631. It is 30 million light years away from us. Give or take a few thousand light years. We see it side-on. An exciting, daring glimpse of side-whale. Within the whale, stars are born. Their lights illuminate the galactic centre. Strata of dark material hang between us and the starburst. Through Hubble we can see that the galaxy has a central bulge and an asymmetric tapering disc, providing the appearance of a whale. There are fewer stars and less dust in its outer reaches, although these are still punctuated by star formation. The centre of the Whale Galaxy witnesses exploding stars. Supernovae, eight times the mass of our sun, bathing the galaxy in hot gas. Blue starlight making celestial ka-booms, painting the whale, which feeds on intergalactic material, stars coalescing to create the greater density within its vast belly. Just as blue whales gorge on plankton, so the Whale Galaxy snacks on dust and gas that powers a high rate of star formation. An undercurrent of gleaming silver, a base of orange and blue. They are there yet we cannot see. Paint particles at the outer edge of application, a dust of pigment, chlorofluorocarbons and light. Let the whales feast. You loved me like a distant star.)

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