Astronomers put forward new theory of galaxy formation

Feb 02, 2005
galaxy M101

How and when did galaxies form? How and when did stars form in these island-like universes? These questions are still posing a considerable challenge to present-day astronomers. An international team of astronomers, including CAS researchers from the China's National Astronomical Observatories, presents new convincing answers to such fundamental questions.

For this, they rely on an extensive set of observations of galaxies taken with several space- and ground-based telescopes. In particular, they used over a two-year period, several instruments on Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

Their observations reveal that roughly half of the present-day stars were formed in the period between eight billion and four billion years ago, mostly in episodic burst of intense star formation occurring in Luminous Infrared Galaxies.

Based on these data, the astronomers devised an innovative scenario, dubbed the "spiral rebuilding". They claim that most present-day spiral galaxies are the results of one or several merger events. If confirmed, this new scenario could revolutionize the way astronomers think galaxies formed.

The research has been reported in a paper titled Did most present-day spirals form during the last 8 Gyrs? - A formation history with violent episodes revealed by panchromatic observations" in the leading astronomical journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 430(1).

Source: CAS

Explore further: Ceres bright spots sharpen but questions remain

Related Stories

Domino's taking orders via tweet

39 minutes ago

Domino's on Wednesday launched perhaps the easiest way to satisfy a pizza craving this side of mind reading: order by tweet.

Recommended for you

Ceres bright spots sharpen but questions remain

14 minutes ago

The latest views of Ceres' enigmatic white spots are sharper and clearer, but it's obvious that Dawn will have to descend much lower before we'll see crucial details hidden in this overexposed splatter of ...

What are extrasolar planets?

24 minutes ago

For countless generations, human beings have looked out at the night sky and wondered if they were alone in the universe. With the discovery of other planets in our solar system, the true extent of the Milky ...

Rosetta's view of a comet's "great divide"

34 minutes ago

The latest image to be revealed of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comes from October 27, 2014, before the Philae lander even departed for its surface. Above we get a view of a dramatically-shadowed cliff ...

How long will our spacecraft survive?

44 minutes ago

There are many hazards out there, eager to disrupt and dismantle the mighty machines we send out into space. How long can they survive to perform their important missions?

Why roundworms are ideal for space studies

1 hour ago

Humans have long been fascinated by the cosmos. Ancient cave paintings show that we've been thinking about space for much of the history of our species. The popularity of recent sci-fi movies suggest that ...

A curious family of giant exoplanets

1 hour ago

There are 565 exoplanets currently known that are as massive as Jupiter or bigger, about one third of the total known, confirmed exoplanet population. About one quarter of the massive population orbits very ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.