Australian Astronomers Help Solve Galaxy "murder Mystery"
Muhammad Irfan Published November 04, 2021 | 04:10 PM
Galaxies are being killed in one of the most extreme regions of the universe and an international team of astronomers believe they now know why, according to a latest research
SYDNEY, Nov 4 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 4th Nov, 2021 ) :Galaxies are being killed in one of the most extreme regions of the universe and an international team of astronomers believe they now know why, according to a latest research.
In a paper published Wednesday in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, the 36 astronomers including those from Australia provided evidence that the extreme environments surrounding galaxies can reach far within them and "steal" their molecular gas, the fuel needed to birth new stars and keep a galaxy alive.
"We know that galaxies in the most extreme environments suffer tremendously, losing their gas reservoirs and eventually being unable to form any more stars," said Dr. Claudia Lagos from the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research at the University of Western Australia.
The findings are based on observations of molecular gas in 51 galaxies belonging to the Virgo Cluster, which researchers have mapped as part of their Virgo Environment Traced in Carbon Monoxide Survey (VERTICO).
"We were able to create among the most detailed maps of the distribution of gas in cluster galaxies ever observed.
"These images provide the missing pieces of the puzzle of how the environment affects the gas content of galaxies, specially the dense and cold gas, and hence their ability to form stars." The researchers said galaxy clusters are among the largest, hottest, and most extreme environments in the universe, "making them the perfect cosmic laboratory for observations such as VERTICO." The Virgo Cluster, which is about 65 million light years from Earth, contains thousands of galaxies hurtling through superheated plasma at speeds of up to several million kilometers per hour.
It is an environment so inhospitable that entire galaxies can be stopped from forming stars in a process known as "galaxy quenching.""Gas stripping is one of the most spectacular and violent external mechanisms that can shut down star formation in galaxies," said lead author Dr. Toby Brown from the National Research Council of Canada.
"The exquisite quality of VERTICO's observations allows us to better see and understand such mechanisms."