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: New Horizons sights tiny Pluto moon as spacecraft races toward dwarf planet

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Apple may accelerate push on mobile payments

2 hours ago

With its new mobile payment system, Apple is likely to use its market power to accelerate adoption of smarter retail payment technology and boost security amid growing concern over hacking.

NY judge: TV clip service not violating copyright

3 hours ago

A New York judge says a company distributing television clips and snippets of transcripts to customers including the White House and members of Congress has not violated broadcasters' copyrights.

Recommended for you

User comments : 0