An international team of researchers led by Médéric Boquien of the University of Massachusetts Amherst has shown that debris formed when two galaxies collide makes a simpler, more accessible laboratory for studying the process of star formation. The team presented their results at a press conference Monday, June 2 at the American Astronomical Society meeting in St. Louis, Missouri.
“Surprisingly, we found that star formation is essentially the same in galaxies and in the debris which occurs between galaxies, in spite of tremendous differences in the environment,” says Boquien, a post-doctoral researcher in the astronomy department. “This is a very exciting result, meaning that we can use these regions, which are located outside a pre-existing stellar disk and are much simpler than star forming regions in galaxies, to study the creation of stars.”
Additional members of the team include Pierre-Alain Duc of the National Center for Scientific Research in France, Frédéric Bournaud of the French Atomic Energy Commission, Jonathan Braine of the Bordeaux Observatory, Vassilis Charmandaris of the University of Crete, Greece and Ute Lisenfeld at the University of Granada, Spain.
Collision debris is the remains of a collision between two or more galaxies, in which the interplay of gravity can create long expanding “tidal tails.” This debris, which is ejected into the intergalactic medium located between galaxies, is composed mainly of gas and dust stripped from their parent galaxies. They can be as heavy as several billion suns, and serve as a reservoir that feeds star formation. The most massive of these star forming regions, called tidal dwarf galaxies, can be bound by their own gravity and rotate.
Barely studied since their discovery in the 1950s, these areas have sparked increasing interest from astronomers, and were recently used to test the nature of dark matter. What was not known was whether star formation was the same in collision debris as it was in galaxies, a key factor in determining their usefulness in the study of star formation.
To answer this question, Boquien and his team observed a carefully selected sample of six interacting galaxy systems located a distance of 55 to 375 million light years from Earth. The study focused on extreme systems in which a large fraction (up to 85%) of star formation takes place in collision debris, rather than in the main body of the parent galaxies, a situation that is representative of the distant, young Universe.
By simultaneously analyzing multiple wavelengths of emissions, including infrared radiation from the dust heated by young stars picked up by the Spitzer space observatory, the team was able to trace star formation and determine that the process was occurring in essentially the same way in the intergalactic medium and inside galaxies. Ultraviolet energy detected by the Galaxy Evolution Explorer and images of ionized hydrogen atoms and optical and infrared light from eight ground-based telescopes were also used.
“The best regions to study stellar evolution would be those completely devoid of old stars, and we were able to find some regions which satisfy this criteria,” says Boquien, who adds that these regions are generally quite isolated, unlike star forming regions in galaxies which can be surrounded by many bright astronomical objects. “As star formation apparently occurs in a similar way in galaxies, results we obtain studying intergalactic star forming regions can be confidently extended to galaxies.”
Médéric Boquien | newswise
When fluid flows almost as fast as light -- with quantum rotation
22.06.2018 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences
Thermal Radiation from Tiny Particles
22.06.2018 | Universität Greifswald
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.06.2018 | Life Sciences