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This animation from Hubblecast 76 shows how water falls in droplets, rather than a continuous column. It is the same basic physics that caused what is known as “beads on a string” star formation between two merging galaxies in the cluster SDSS J1531+3414.
The only real difference is that the surface tension in the falling water is analogous to gravity in the context of the formation of evenly spaced stellar superclusters. This is a wonderful demonstration that the fundamental laws of physics really are scale-invariant – we see the same physics in rain drops that we do on 100 000 light-year scales.
Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA, Luis Calçada and Martin Kornmesser.