# What is the best interpretation of this collision graphic?

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## Main Question or Discussion Point

A recent article on Proton/Lead collisions (http://physics.aps.org/articles/v8/61) used a graphic seen in earlier articles on Proton/Proton collisions (ie. http://arxiv.org/pdf/1206.0148v1.pdf). I understand the gray disks to represent protons just after the collision (flattened due to relativity at their high speeds), but I am not sure how to understand the colored bars. Appreciate insight anyone would have on this.

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vanhees71
$$V_{\text{eff}}(r)=-\frac{k}{r}+\sigma r.$$