NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory is busy studying a huge new galaxy spotted 700 million light years from Earth.

What is really unique and interesting about the galaxy is its gassy tail, which itself is around 250,000 light years long, reports the Washington Post. Another interesting feature of the galaxy is that it appears to be quite far from its source galaxy.

The length of the cosmic ribbon of gas streaming out of the galaxy is double the width of the Milky Way galaxy, making it one of the biggest things found so far in the universe. A paper published recently by Astronomy and Astrophysics suggests that the tail is probably made of gas stripped away from the galaxy it seems to stream from.

The sheer size of the gas tail is a cause for worry as the galaxy is a part of a cluster of galaxies held together by gravity. Since these galaxies have hot intergalactic gas between them, any pressure on a galaxy as it crashes through this external gas could pull its own gas out into space.

The researchers believe that the tail was created as a galaxy known as CGCG254-021, or perhaps a group of galaxies dominated by this large galaxy, plowed through the hot gas in Zwicky 8338. The tail contains gases at temperatures of about ten million degrees, about twenty million degrees cooler than the intergalactic gas, but still hot enough to glow brightly in X-rays that Chandra can detect.

Images from Chandra and the NSF's Karl Jansky Very Large Array show that the galaxy CGCG254-021 appears to be moving towards the bottom of the image, with the tail following behind. There is a significant gap between the X-ray tail and the galaxy, the largest ever seen.

According to Thomas Reiprich of the University of Bonn, the tail seems to have a large separation from the galaxy, indicating that it has been cut off from the galaxy.

NASA’s calculations indicate that the source galaxy was one of the cluster's most active star factories at some point in the past but has evidently stopped making new stars.

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