Blue bursts of hot young stars captured by Hubble

Mar 11, 2013
Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA

( —This image, speckled with blue, white and yellow light, shows part of the spiral galaxy IC 5052. Surrounded in the image by foreground stars in our own galaxy, and distant galaxies beyond, it emits a bright blue-white glow which highlights its narrow, intricate structure. It is viewed side-on in the constellation of Pavo (The Peacock), in the southern sky.

When spiral galaxies are viewed from this angle, it is very difficult to fully understand their properties and how they are arranged. IC 5052 is actually a barred : Its pinwheeling arms do not begin from the center point but are instead attached to either end of a straight "bar" of stars that cuts through the galaxy's middle. Approximately two-thirds of all spirals are barred, including the Milky Way.

Bursts of pale blue light are visible across the galaxy's length, partially blocked out by weaving lanes of darker gas and dust. These are pockets of extremely hot newborn stars. The bars present in spirals like IC 5052 are thought to help these formation processes by effectively funneling material from the swirling arms inwards towards these hot stellar nurseries.

Explore further: New technique for isolating sunny-day 'light' scattering could help illuminate Universe's birth

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User comments : 7

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2 / 5 (4) Mar 11, 2013
A straight bar? How exactly does the gravity only or black hole model explain this bar?
In interacting plasma, as has been shown by Bostick's plasmoids and Anthony Peratt's particle in cell simulations, the bar is an expected feature, but I guess that's beside the point.
5 / 5 (2) Mar 11, 2013
The bar actually results from gravitational instabilities within the central concentration of stars. Its formation is not well understood, but studies suggest it relates to the large number of stars gravitationally interacting across a wide distribution of mass within the central region of the galaxie. The large mass at the centre (the black hole) has a tendency to attract mass to itself, resulting in a diffuse "polarization cloud" around the central mass.

Now here's where it get complicated!

The distribution of the diffuse mass of the is affected by the rotational speed and the mass of the galaxie. In essense, and using a really poor analagy, the cloud gets stretched across the plane of the galaxie, thus giving it the appearence of a bar.
1 / 5 (2) Mar 12, 2013
I bet it produces quite an odd shaped gravity well.
4.7 / 5 (3) Mar 12, 2013
It's also interesting to note that the stars in the bar stay in it, they move at the same speed as the bar. That's not true of the spiral arms, they move at about half the speed of the stars in the disc and are transient features.
5 / 5 (2) Mar 12, 2013
A straight bar? How exactly does the gravity only or black hole model explain this bar? explains it with mutual interactions of elliptical paths of individual stars within the galaxy.

That is the mechanism behind the spiral arms, CD's comment was about the central bar. NGC 1300 is a good illustration:


The arms start from the tips of the bar.

It doesn't require plasma babbling about it.

You got that right :-)
1 / 5 (4) Mar 12, 2013
It doesn't require plasma babbling about it.

It's nearly all plasma, but we don't have to consider the properties that influence the plasma? That sounds so sciency, it's funny I am accused of ignoring the basics yet all I have ever claimed is gravity is inconsequential as compared to magnetism (39 orders of magnitude stronger). While others choose to completely ignore the actual physics that must be use to describe such behavior, sounds so religious. The folks of the church of Einstein need to get out a little more, there have been many discoveries since your deity died. BTW, here are Bostick's papers, he even has an explanation for the (expected) bar.


And Peratt's;

Not just pretty pictures or diagrams, but real science with math and everything, weird!
1 / 5 (4) Mar 12, 2013
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