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: Quest for extraterrestrial life not over, experts say

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

Quest for extraterrestrial life not over, experts say

Apr 18, 2014

The discovery of an Earth-sized planet in the "habitable" zone of a distant star, though exciting, is still a long way from pointing to the existence of extraterrestrial life, experts said Friday. ...

Continents may be a key feature of Super-Earths

Apr 18, 2014

Huge Earth-like planets that have both continents and oceans may be better at harboring extraterrestrial life than those that are water-only worlds. A new study gives hope for the possibility that many super-Earth ...

Exoplanets soon to gleam in the eye of NESSI

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —The New Mexico Exoplanet Spectroscopic Survey Instrument (NESSI) will soon get its first "taste" of exoplanets, helping astronomers decipher their chemical composition. Exoplanets are planets ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Easter morning delivery for space station

Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies. The shipment arrived Sunday morning via the SpaceX company's Dragon cargo capsule.

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids

(Phys.org) —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational ...

Finnish inventor rethinks design of the axe

(Phys.org) —Finnish inventor Heikki Kärnä is the man behind the Vipukirves Leveraxe, which is a precision tool for splitting firewood. He designed the tool to make the job easier and more efficient, with ...

Poll: Big Bang a big question for most Americans

Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But they have more skepticism than confidence in global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and have the most trouble believing a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 ...