Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The Magellanic Group And Its Seven Dwarf Galaxies

15.10.2008
Astronomers at the University of Zurich have proposed a new theory for the formation of dwarf galaxies. In a paper published in «The Astrophysical Journal», Elena D’Onghia and George Lake solve several outstanding problems by comparing observed dwarfs to supercomputer simulations of their formation (Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 686, Nr. 2, p. L61).

The properties of dwarf galaxies have presented many challenges. «Ten years ago, my team at the University of Washington found that our cosmological model predicts 30-50 times as many small objects as we see. If the numbers had been nearly equal, that would have been an easy success for the model. If there were none, we might figure out a way to keep any from forming» says lead author George Lake «but at the risk of confusing fairy tales, having 30-50 times fewer dwarfs than predicted presents a ‹Goldilock’s problem›. How do we keep most of them from forming, but not all?»

The main theory to prevent the formation of luminous dwarfs has been that events in the early Universe remove the gas that might have formed stars. The first of these events is the global heating and reionization of the Universe that happens within a billion years after the big bang. In this theory, the small fraction of dwarfs that form quickly enough escape destruction. «While this is an interesting idea, it doesn’t explain why most of the dwarfs have stars that form much later than this» says Lake.

There is also the odd grouping of dwarfs. «Like those of the correct fairy tale, the dwarfs that we have are ‹friendly›, they group together both within our galaxy and in nearby associations» continues co-author Elena D’Onghia. «One might even think they’ve seen the movie as seven of them are associated with The Magellanic Clouds, the largest satellites of the Milky Way that are easily seen if you are lucky enough to view the sky from the Southern Hemisphere».

In the past, other researchers have noticed that as galaxies form hierarchically in the Universe, that many of the pieces come in as groups of small objects. «The critical element of these groups of dwarfs isn’t that they are a club, but rather they have a ‹dwarf leader› or ‹parent›. When events in the early Universe expels the gas in the smallest object, the dwarf leader shepherds this gas and allows its small companions to recapture it at later times» says D’Onghia.

Lake and D’Onghia have put all these puzzle pieces together to propose that the Magellanic Clouds were the largest members of a group of dwarf galaxies that entered the Milky Way dark halo not long ago. Seven of the eleven brightest satellite galaxies of our Milky Way were part of this group. New simulations performed at the University of Zurich show that it is typical for dwarf galaxies to form in groups and enter large galaxies at late times. The group is then disrupted by tidal forces, spreading the small population of luminous dwarfs around the Milky Way making the satellite galaxies we observe today.

New measurements by scientists at Harvard University including Nitya Kallivayalil and Gurtina Besla indicate that the Magellanic Clouds are moving faster than previously believed and may have entered the Milky Way recently. «The scenario proposed by D’Onghia and Lake fits in well with these observational determinations and may account for many facets of the satellite population of the Milky Way», according to Lars Hernquist of Harvard University.

As well as wrapping up several problems in galaxy formation, their theory makes clear predictions that will be tested rapidly. One such prediction is that isolated dwarf and satellite galaxies will be found to have companions. Since their theory was first circulated, the dwarf galaxy Leo IV was found to have another little Leo V companion in July. The existence of nearby dwarf associations also supports this new theory.

Lake and D’Onghia are located in the Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of Zurich. This Institute is known for the pioneering work in relativity and cosmology. Most recently, they have been leaders in predicting the distribution and properties of dark matter in the Universe.

Beat Mueller | alfa
Further information:
http://www.mediadesk.uzh.ch/mitteilung.php?text_id=329&grp=aktuell

Further reports about: Astrophysical Dwarf galaxies Milky Way Universe clouds dwarf galaxies satellite galaxies

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions
27.04.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>