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Microwaves are actually produced by a multitude of astrophysical sources, including strong emitters known as masers (microwave lasers), even stronger emitters with the somewhat villainous name of megamasers and the centers of some galaxies. The lower, blue-tinted galaxy is a special kind of megamaser. The galaxy’s active galaxtic nucleus pumps out huge amounts of energy, which stimulates clouds of surrounding water. Water’s constituent atoms of hydrogen and oxygen are able to absorb some of this energy and re-emit it at specific wavelengths, one of which falls within the microwave regime. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
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