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: Life 'not as we know it' possible on Saturn's moon Titan

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fresh nuclear leak detected at Fukushima plant

8 hours ago

Sensors at the Fukushima nuclear plant have detected a fresh leak of highly radioactive water to the sea, the plant's operator announced Sunday, highlighting difficulties in decommissioning the crippled plant.

Spacewalking astronauts route cable in 1st of 3 jobs

9 hours ago

(AP)—Spacewalking astronauts routed more than 300 feet (90 meters) of cable outside the International Space Station on Saturday, tricky and tiring advance work for the arrival of new American-made crew ...

Driverless shuttle will be on the move in UK

10 hours ago

(Phys.org) —"Autonomous public transport" is on the minds of planners who envision self-driving vehicles that would cross over short distances, suited for airport transport, industrial sites, theme parks ...

Recommended for you

Could the Milky Way become a quasar?

Feb 27, 2015

A quasar is what you get when a supermassive black hole is actively feeding on material at the core of a galaxy. The region around the black hole gets really hot and blasts out radiation that we can see billions ...

Galactic dinosaurs not extinct

Feb 27, 2015

One of the biggest mysteries in galaxy evolution is the fate of the compact massive galaxies that roamed the early Universe.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.