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: Computer model shows moon's core surrounded by liquid and it's caused by Earth's gravity

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Social Security spent $300M on 'IT boondoggle'

1 hour ago

(AP)—Six years ago the Social Security Administration embarked on an aggressive plan to replace outdated computer systems overwhelmed by a growing flood of disability claims.

Cheaper wireless plans cut into AT&T 2Q profit

1 hour ago

(AP)—AT&T posted lower net income for the latest quarter due to cheaper cellphone plans it introduced as a response to aggressive pricing from smaller competitor T-Mobile US.

Awarded a Pell Grant? Better double-check

1 hour ago

(AP)—Potentially tens of thousands of students awarded a Pell Grant or other need-based federal aid for the coming school year could find it taken away because of a mistake in filling out the form.

Recommended for you

Comet Jacques makes a 'questionable' appearance

12 hours ago

What an awesome photo! Italian amateur astronomer Rolando Ligustri nailed it earlier today using a remote telescope in New Mexico and wide-field 4-inch (106 mm) refractor. Currently the brightest comet in ...

Image: Our flocculent neighbour, the spiral galaxy M33

12 hours ago

The spiral galaxy M33, also known as the Triangulum Galaxy, is one of our closest cosmic neighbours, just three million light-years away. Home to some forty billion stars, it is the third largest in the ...

Titan offers clues to atmospheres of hazy planets

12 hours ago

When hazy planets pass across the face of their star, a curious thing happens. Astronomers are not able to see any changes in the range of light coming from the star and planet system.

Having fun with the equation of time

12 hours ago

If you're like us, you might've looked at a globe of the Earth in elementary school long before the days of Google Earth and wondered just what that strange looking figure eight thing on its side was.

User comments : 0