Home > Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology, Galaxies, General Astronomy, Stars > ALMA Sheds Light On Mystery Of Missing Massive Galaxies

ALMA Sheds Light On Mystery Of Missing Massive Galaxies


Three-dimensional view of ALMA observations. Credit: ALMA (ESO / NAOJ / NRAO) / Erik Rosolowsky

Three-dimensional view of ALMA observations. Credit: ALMA (ESO / NAOJ / NRAO) / Erik Rosolowsky

Galaxies — systems like our own Milky Way that contain up to hundreds of billions of stars — are the basic building blocks of the cosmos. One ambitious goal of contemporary astronomy is to understand the ways in which galaxies grow and evolve, a key question being star formation: what determines the number of new stars that will form in a galaxy?

The Sculptor Galaxy, also known as NGC 253, is a spiral galaxy located in the southern constellation of Sculptor. At a distance of around 11.5 million light-years from our Solar System it is one of our closer intergalactic neighbours, and one of the closest starburst galaxies visible from the southern hemisphere. Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) astronomers have discovered billowing columns of cold, dense gas fleeing from the centre of the galactic disc.

“With ALMA’s superb resolution and sensitivity, we can clearly see for the first time massive concentrations of cold gas being jettisoned by expanding shells of intense pressure created by young stars,” said Alberto Bolatto of the University of Maryland, USA lead author of the paper. “The amount of gas we measure gives us very good evidence that some growing galaxies spew out more gas than they take in. We may be seeing a present-day example of a very common occurrence in the early Universe.”

Full Story: http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1334/
Also: http://www.nrao.edu/pr/2013/starburst-bust/
Also: http://www.mpia.de/Public/menu_q2.php?Aktuelles/PR/2013/PR_2013_06/PR_2013_06_en.html

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