Science: Arcs,Birth and a Disk in the Sky

Some faraway surprises from an astronomy meeting

Even the most jaded sky watchers were intrigued last week by three remarkable discoveries reported at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Pasadena, Calif. Two of the finds lend support to current theories about the formation of planets and of galaxies, immense islands of hundreds of billions of stars. But a third -- two gigantic, well-defined arcs of light, as well as fragments of another -- cannot be explained to anyone's satisfaction.

The mysterious arcs, each four to seven times as long as the diameter of the Milky Way, curve around clusters of galaxies that lie some 3 billion light- years*...

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