Sure, astronomers have witnessed plenty of galactic collisions, which can be pretty intense events, but the latest cosmic conflict is of a different breed.

Using a variety of space- and ground-based observatories, scientists discovered a supermassive black hole shooting a jet of particles at a neighboring galaxy. It’s located 1.4 billion light years from Earth, and they’re calling it the Death Star galaxy because of the powerful beam.

The eventual outcome of this long-distance shot could be positive, however. The jet might fry any planets in its path in the short run, the scientists say, but in the long run, the energy it deposits could lead to the formation of stars and planets.—Gregory Mone

(Credit: Illustration: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss)