New Hydrogen Clouds in the M81 Group of Galaxies

Jan 10, 2008
New Hydrogen Clouds in the M81 Group of Galaxies
Credit: Chynoweth et al., NRAO/AUI/NSF, Digital Sky Survey

A composite radio-optical image shows five new clouds of hydrogen gas discovered using the National Science Foundation's Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT). The spiral galaxy M81 and its satellite, M82, are seen in visible light (white); intergalactic hydrogen gas revealed by the GBT is shown in red; and additional hydrogen gas earlier detected by the Very Large Array is shown in green.

The M81 Group of galaxies, 11.8 million light-years from Earth, are interacting gravitationally with each other, as shown clearly by the gas streaming among them.

The newly-discovered gas clouds, each containing from 14 to 57 million times the mass of our Sun, are similar to gas clouds also found near our own Milky Way Galaxy. Astronomers analyzing these M81 Group clouds conclude that they are likely remnants of earlier interactions among the galaxies and that this indicates that their analogs near the Milky Way had a similar origin.

The research team is: Katie Chynoweth, a graduate student at Vanderbilt University; Glen Langston of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO); Min Yun of the University of Massachusetts; Felix J. Lockman of NRAO; Kate Rubin of Lick Observatory; and Sarah Scoles of Cornell University. The astronomers presented their findings to the American Astronomical Society's meeting in Austin, Texas.

Source: NRAO

Explore further: What does the next generation telescope need to detect life?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Chandra images torrent of star formation

Jan 13, 2011

A new Chandra X-ray Observatory image of Messier 82, or M82, shows the result of star formation on overdrive. At a distance of only 12 million light years, M82 provides a unique cosmic laboratory for studying ...

Herschel takes a peek at the ingredients of the galaxies

Nov 27, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The European Space Agency has today released spectacular new observations from the Herschel Space Observatory, including the UK-led SPIRE instrument. Spectrometers on board all three Hershel ...

Recommended for you

New window on the early Universe

Oct 22, 2014

Scientists at the Universities of Bonn and Cardiff see good times approaching for astrophysicists after hatching a new observational strategy to distill detailed information from galaxies at the edge of ...

Chandra's archives come to life

Oct 22, 2014

Every year, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory looks at hundreds of objects throughout space to help expand our understanding of the Universe. Ultimately, these data are stored in the Chandra Data Archive, ...

New robotic telescope revolutionizes the study of stars

Oct 22, 2014

In the last 8 months a fully robotic telescope in Tenerife has been carrying out high-precision observations of the motion of stellar surfaces. The telescope is the first in the SONG telescope network and ...

User comments : 0