Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Starburst Galaxy Showers The Universe

21.05.2004


When a galaxy known as M82 had a near-miss with its neighbour, it set off an explosive burst of star formation that sent plumes of hot gas tens of thousands of light years into space. Now a team of UK and American astronomers has discovered that these gas clouds are like the jets from a high pressure shower head.


Credits: Mark Westmoquette (UCL), Jay Gallagher (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Linda Smith (UCL), WIYN/NSF, NASA/ESA



M82 – which astronomers call a “starburst galaxy” - is located at a distance of a bit more than 10 million light years from our own Milky Way. Dr. Linda Smith, from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, UCL, explains: "M82 shows intense star formation packed in dense star clusters. This powers plumes of hot gas that extend for tens of thousands of light years above and below the starry plane of the galaxy. This cosmic hurricane is traveling at more than a million miles an hour into intergalactic space.”

Dr. Smith and her postgraduate student Mark Westmoquette, together with Jay Gallagher from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have combined images taken with the ground-based WIYN Telescope on Kitt Peak, Arizona, and pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope in near Earth orbit. This enabled them to produce a unique view of M82. "This approach allows us to combine the strength of WIYN to measure very faint diffuse emission with the superb sharpness of Hubble to obtain a full picture of the superwind emerging from M82," says Professor Gallagher.


"Our problem was how to visualize data covering a huge range in brightness and spatial scale," explains Westmoquette. "We solved this by overlaying the sharp images from the Hubble that cover the inner part of the galaxy, where resolving key details is critical, on top of WIYN data that show the extended wind."

As a result, Dr. Smith and her colleagues can trace the outer wind back to the point in the centre of the galaxy where it is being produced, like following the cloud of smoke from a power plant back to the individual chimney that produced it. Many of the stars that are formed in the M82 starburst end their short lives with a supernova explosion. That means the winds they produce are laden with chemicals known as heavy elements. “Our goal here is to understand the structure of the wind’s plumes, which are key factors in the evolution of this galaxy and the eventual pollution of nearby intergalactic space with new chemical elements," says Dr. Smith.

Dr Linda J. Smith | alfa

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form
18.08.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht Astrophysicists explain the mysterious behavior of cosmic rays
18.08.2017 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>