Astronomers discover how lowly dwarf galaxy becomes star-forming powerhouse

September 9, 2015, National Radio Astronomy Observatory
ALMA discovers an unexpected population of compact interstellar clouds inside the dwarf irregular galaxy WLM. These star-forming clouds provide the necessary nurturing environment to form star clusters. As seen in relation to an optical image of the galaxy taken with the Blanco 4-meter telescope, (box upper left) an overlaying blanket of hydrogen gas (red) imaged with NRAO's VLA telescope provides the pressure necessary to concentrate molecules of carbon monoxide (yellow) as seen with ALMA. These regions correspond to dense cores capable of forming clusters like those found in the Milky Way and other large galaxies. Credit: B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF); M. Rubio et al., Universidad de Chile, ALMA (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ); D. Hunter and A. Schruba, VLA (NRAO/AUI/NSF); P. Massey/Lowell Observatory and K. Olsen (NOAO/AURA/NSF)

A nearby dwarf galaxy poses an intriguing mystery: How is it able to form brilliant star clusters without the dusty, gas-rich environments found in larger galaxies? The answer, astronomers believe, lies in densely packed and previously unrecognized nuggets of star-forming material sprinkled throughout the galaxy.

An international team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has discovered an unexpected population of compact interstellar clouds hidden within the nearby dwarf irregular galaxy Wolf—Lundmark—Melotte, more commonly known as WLM.

These clouds, which are nestled within a heavy blanket of interstellar material, help explain how dense are able to form in the tenuous environs of a galaxy thousands of times smaller and far more diffuse than our own Milky Way.

"For many reasons, dwarf irregular galaxies like WLM are poorly equipped to form star clusters," noted Monica Rubio, an astronomer with the University of Chile and lead author on a paper to appear in the scientific journal Nature. "These galaxies are fluffy with very low densities. They also lack the that contribute to star formation. Such galaxies should only form dispersed stars rather than concentrated clusters, but that is clearly not the case."

By studying this galaxy with ALMA, the astronomers were able to locate, for the first time, compact regions that appear able to emulate the nurturing environments found in larger galaxies.

The ALMA telescope as seen at night. Its superior resolution and sensitivity allow it to detect and image the faint millimeter-wavelength light emitted by molecules in space. Credit: C. Padilla (NRAO/AUI/NSF)

These regions were discovered by pinpointing the almost imperceptible and highly localized millimeter wavelength light emitted by (CO) molecules, which are typically associated with star-forming interstellar clouds.

Earlier, an affiliated team of astronomers led by Deidre Hunter at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz., first detected CO in the WLM galaxy with the single-dish Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope. These initial, low-resolution observations could not resolve where the molecules reside, but they did confirm that WLM contains the lowest abundance of CO ever detected in any galaxy. This lack of CO and other heavy elements should put a serious damper on star formation, the astronomers note.

"Molecules, and carbon monoxide in particular, play an important role in star formation," said Rubio. "As gas clouds begin to collapse, temperatures and densities rise, pushing back against gravity. That's where these molecules and dust particles come to the rescue by absorbing some of the heat through collisions and radiating it into space at infrared and submillimeter wavelengths." This cooling effect enables gravity to continue the collapse until a star forms.

The problem previously was that in WLM and similar galaxies with very low abundances of heavy elements, astronomers simply didn't see enough of this material to account for the new star clusters they observed.

The reason the CO was initially so difficult to see, the researchers discovered, is that unlike in normal galaxies, the WLM clouds are very tiny compared to their overlying envelopes of molecular and atomic gas.

To become viable star factories, the concentrated CO clouds need these enormous envelopes of transitional gas to bear down on them, giving the cores of CO a high enough density to allow them to form a normal cluster of stars.

"Like a diver being squeezed at the bottom of a deep abyss, these bundles of star-forming gas are under tremendous pressure, even though the surrounding ocean of interstellar gas is much more shallow," said Bruce Elmegreen, a co-author on the paper and researcher at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. "By discovering that the carbon monoxide is confined to highly concentrated regions within a vast expanse of transitional gas, we could finally understand the mechanisms that led to the impressive stellar neighborhoods we see in the galaxy today."

Further studies with ALMA will also help determine the conditions that formed the globular clusters found in the halo of the Milky Way. Astronomers believe these much larger clusters may have originally formed in dwarf galaxies and later migrated to the halo after their host dwarf galaxies dispersed.

WLM is a relatively isolated dwarf galaxy located approximately 3 million light-years away on the outer edges of the Local Group: the collection of galaxies that includes the Milky Way, the Magellanic Clouds, Andromeda, M33, and dozens of smaller .

Explore further: Neutral hydrogen gas in galaxy clusters

More information: Dense cloud cores revealed by CO in the low metallicity dwarf galaxy WLM, DOI: 10.1038/nature14901

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wizardo
1 / 5 (5) Sep 09, 2015
Oh, well. The show must go on...

"How is it able to form brilliant star clusters without the dusty, gas-rich environments found in larger galaxies? The answer, astronomers believe, lies in densely packed and previously unrecognized nuggets of star-forming material sprinkled throughout the galaxy."

Yes. But how did it get there? For example:

"The primordial mother star, residing at the center of the star cluster, has by this time grown very dense and massive. Because it has a much deeper gravity well, the mother star's matter-creation rate greatly surpasses that of its progeny stars. As increasing amounts of matter are produced, this primordial star cluster grows in size until it has reached the size of a dwarf elliptical galaxy, at which point it contains billions of stars."
Genesis of the Cosmos, Paul A. Laviolette
Tuxford
1.8 / 5 (10) Sep 09, 2015
Merger maniacs need a patch, so this is just another one sustaining their fantasy. LaViolette's continous creation model is the opposite, so must be ridiculed. The problem is for the maniacs, that his model explains recent observations such as this one. And since astronomers and physicists don't have the systems engineering background needed to understand the model, they ignore it. Embarrassing, so the ridicule must go on.
katesisco
not rated yet Sep 09, 2015
Well, the article says that basically everything will be revealed with the James Webb telescope soon to be launched. Our problem now is that we cannot resolve to fine enough so we hear that the expected is not there when actually we just cant clarify. Would rather not have the 'its not but wait it is' routine.
Enthusiastic Fool
3.9 / 5 (11) Sep 10, 2015
@Tux

Hi friend, how is your life going? I'm doing alright here.

Thought I'd mention a few things:
1. Don't make your sock puppets say very similar things to your main account right before you post with your main account. "The show must go on" and "...another one sustaining their fantasy" in the opening salvos of both posts. It feels so transparent as to be insulting.

2. Regardless of what LaViolette's model "explains" it plainly contradicts Laws of Conservation. For an established scientific law to be overturned it would require extraordinary amounts of evidence and independent replication.

3. If Diffuse Elemental Radiating Particles(DERPs) do exist why haven't they been detected? I have an undetectable dragon living in my garage too. He has a teapot!

4. Name one process we can replicate here on Earth or in LEO that breaks conservation. Hard huh? Now think of all the evidence we can use to extrapolate the standard model.
Enthusiastic Fool
4.1 / 5 (9) Sep 10, 2015
LMAO....


I was referencing both Carl Sagan and Bertrand Russel.

The difference between your parody of the statement and the point of the statement is large. Tux's DERPs are literally undetectable and through undetectable mechanisms give rise to matter but only where matter already exists.

The dragon in Sagan's garage also leaves no detectable evidence whatsoever so why posit it.
Russel's teapot is an illustration of how the burden of proof is on the claimant in the positive and is also undetectable.

Dark Matter has observable effects as well as a mathematical base and interacts gravitationally while explaining observation. This is leaps and bounds above what's offered by the dragon, teapot, and DERPs. The current understanding of Dark Matter isn't perfect but neither is our understanding of gravity. You want to tell me gravity doesn't exist too?
JustAnotherGuy
5 / 5 (1) Sep 11, 2015
@wizardo. Apparently you are "in touch" with Laviolette's stuff. You may be able answer some question.

The descriptions of processes, like the one you made, are in forward perspective. When you trace it backwards, you get "things" that become smaller and smaller, to the point which there was nothing there.

From SQK site:
"space is static, Euclidean, of infinite extent and filled with a multi-typed ether"
"matter is continuously created throughout all of space from ether concentration fluctuations that spontaneously arise from one moment to the next."
"the amount of matter existing in the universe increases over time through a process of exponential growth."

How it was supposed to be the Universe in the moment which the objects/phenomena we see today didn't ever existed (were not created yet)? A "Free-of-matter" space? A quite paradoxical scenario, if space is already filled with so reactive stuff. Any explanation?
wizardo
1 / 5 (3) Sep 11, 2015
Hi JustAnotherGuy,

Thank you for replying to my humble comment.

First of all, nothing (infinitely small) and infinity are mathematical concepts, but not physical ones. Google for the article: "Infinity Is a Beautiful Concept – And It's Ruining Physics" - Discovermagazine

Second: What Happened Before The Big Bang? Google for the answer:
"What Happened Before The Big Bang?" - The Independent
Look at the funny answer at the end of the article; The answer is: Nothing.

Some people do not seem to care that there was nothing there, but later on "nothing" had turned into a finite(but incredibly huge)/infinite Universe. Nice theory, I admit. The only problem is: it is extremely hard to believe it.

Well, the Universe is a wonderful place, full of surprises!
Tuxford
2 / 5 (4) Sep 11, 2015
How it was supposed to be the Universe in the moment which the objects/phenomena we see today didn't ever existed (were not created yet)? A "Free-of-matter" space? A quite paradoxical scenario, if space is already filled with so reactive stuff. Any explanation?

My understanding is that LaViolette's theory does not attempt to explain an origin, just the ongoing process. And the process started likely devoid of matter, which arose slowly at first, as in intergalactic space. The diffusive reactive elemental concentrations are well below the threshold needed to trigger a matter reaction, and only via statistics does the random concentration reach the magic threshold for a particle to be spontaneously created, and the reaction sustained. However, deep within the cores of stars, conditions are ripe and the process is vastly accelerated.

While the theory allows for alternative universes to occupy the same space, LaViolette recently believes this condition is highly unlikely.
JustAnotherGuy
5 / 5 (2) Sep 12, 2015
@wizardo. Don't mind about concepts of "nothing" and "infinite". Not my point. I used "nothing" in the meaning of "no existing matter". Thought It was easy.
In case you don't know, Laviolette claims space has "infinite extent", according to his web.
It wasn't "Before the Big Bang" nor "Before the ether" what my question was about, either. Don't mind about this.

Look at Tuxford's last comment "And the process started likely devoid of matter..". That's my point!
A space of INFINITE extent, filled with particles that "create matter" by themselves, provided the required time. The "devoid-of-matter-space" scenario is quite paradoxical in such conditions or, in your words, "extremely hard to believe".
So, any hint you can bring me for this?
JustAnotherGuy
5 / 5 (2) Sep 12, 2015
The diffusive reactive elemental concentrations are well below the threshold needed to trigger a matter reaction, and only via statistics does the random concentration reach the magic threshold for a particle to be spontaneously created, and the reaction sustained.

Which means it needs to have a space of limited existence, finite in time, prior to that. The space and ether of this Universe needs an origin. Have SQK solved this? The whole subject is ignored?

Think of this, you need a "magic" condition/event to start all of this. In a infinite space you have infinite chances for that event to happen, just outside our visible Universe. My guess, statistically, we could already see lot of bigger-than-galaxies objects growing to infinite due to "exponential grow".

Unless you can tell me how to address this, I don't see how SQK would be more reliable than standard cosmology. I'm aware it is supposed to have "solved" other issues, I'm not asking about these.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (6) Sep 12, 2015
it only explains the observation if it is actually there...it's not (as of yet)
@bs
and this is essentially the "god of the gaps" argument- we don't know now, so we will never find out?

The point is: the scientific method – reduced for simplicity: https://en.wikipe...cess.svg

they're investigating now, and they've created a hypothesis that is supported by observation and other evidence (already linked)
so now they test it further finding [insert evidence]

This is no different than the search for the Higgs
telling me I have to prove that something they cant find doesn't exist
but you assume there is NO evidence, which is a big difference, when there IS some
That isn't parody, that is ignorance
(or stupidity, to some- as you've already been linked some evidence)

I've always said DM is a placeholder name for observations and current evidence etc etc etc
Tuxford
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 12, 2015
Which means it needs to have a space of limited existence, finite in time, prior to that. The space and ether of this Universe needs an origin.


Why? To satisfy your mind? Anyway, one step at a time. Get the process model correct first, and worry about origins and fates later, to rest your mind.

...you need a "magic" condition/event to start all of this. In a infinite space you have infinite chances for that event to happen, just outside our visible Universe. My guess, statistically, we could already see lot of bigger-than-galaxies objects growing to infinite due to "exponential grow".


Good point. Likely the core star grows to such an extreme that the ejections dissipate the galaxy, leaving the core bare, as maybe in this case (LaViolette might disagree):

http://phys.org/n...axy.html

or the center of

http://phys.org/n...ars.html

And perhaps the core grows so big to eventually explode.
JustAnotherGuy
3 / 5 (2) Sep 12, 2015
Why? To satisfy your mind?
Nope, it's more reliable than the counterpart: an eternal Universe. Which is quite more paradoxical, probably absurd.

Looks like you're responding with your own hypotheses in the last case. Is this because you don't know them? Or these weren't developed yet?
Tuxford
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 13, 2015
Why? To satisfy your mind?
Nope, it's more reliable than the counterpart: an eternal Universe. Which is quite more paradoxical, probably absurd.

Looks like you're responding with your own hypotheses in the last case.

The theory predicts growing instabilities in the growing supermassive core stars (likely of limited density), a general trend, not a finite size limit, etc. LaViolette would welcome analytical support from the community, but few are interested. Never mind that the model is in alignment with recent observations, most instead are lost, consumed by the fantasy fairy tale model.

So, yes, I myself speculate an upper limit to how massive the giants can grow before self-destructing. Seems logical given the accelerating nature of their growth. I recall LaViolette largely silent on the issue, but I may be wrong.

Absurdity is a term that belongs alongside the current fantasy model. It is one giant kluge.
Enthusiastic Fool
3.4 / 5 (5) Sep 14, 2015
@Tux
consumed by the fantasy fairy tale model..

I agree; you do seem to be.

You still have no answer for why we don't find donut-shaped galaxies where the core has "self destructed" or been expended.
You still have no answer for breaking conservation.
If DERPs coalesce where matter is dense and a core star dies what stops another from forming in the exact same galaxy? It would be the most dense matter in the area, right?

I'm willing to give a look into novel ideas about cosmology/physics. When they have such glaring deficiencies in evidence and contradict well supported, established laws without the explanation being at the forefront of the matter well it hurts my suspension of disbelief.

A theory like this would have to start at showing how conservation isn't violated or can be violated(overturned) by the mechanics of the new theory. Once you walk us into the water then you can start to show us the depths.
tbc
Enthusiastic Fool
3.4 / 5 (5) Sep 14, 2015
cont.

You seem to start at the assumption of "core stars"and claim every new galaxy/cluster picture or observation is evidence of its viability with adhoc crappy jargon.

You have a grand assumption at the beginning rather than adding pieces of evidence and mechanics together to get a grand conclusion.
JustAnotherGuy
5 / 5 (3) Sep 14, 2015
Ok, Tux. Then no official explanations, yet. Hum.. lot of work to be done I think. I suppose my "concerns" will have to wait.

@wizardo. I observed your votings but can't find your replies. Anything you can share? I seek explanations, not brawls.
wizardo
1 / 5 (4) Sep 14, 2015
"I'm willing to give a look into novel ideas about cosmology/physics."
No, actually you are not. For example: why is the earth's core so hot? After 4.5 billion years? And how come that Pluto is still geologically active? Astronomers keep speculating since they are trained not to give a look into novel ideas.

I'm not asking you to answer all the questions physicists and astronomers fail to answer, but SQK is really good at giving us these explanations (probably not perfect though, why should it be?). Just start reading starburstfound.org to look for some novel ideas :P

But most of all, we should enjoy all the science news and articles we happen to read and at the same time we should not take everything granted.
Tuxford
1 / 5 (4) Sep 14, 2015
...You still have no answer for why we don't find donut-shaped galaxies where the core has "self destructed" or been expended.
You still have no answer for breaking conservation.

Nonsense. Clearly you are a fool. Can't think too well huh. Got it.
Enthusiastic Fool
3.7 / 5 (6) Sep 14, 2015
@wizardo/tux

"I'm willing to give a look into novel ideas about cosmology/physics."
No, actually you are not. For example: a bunch of solved stuff that is geology/planetary science


Just because the I don't believe in fairy dust, cold fusion, EU, DAW, or SQK doesn't mean Im not open to new ideas. These are things I have looked into when I first started browsing here as a lurker and each of these has glaring deficiencies, are not more explanatory than the standard model, or contradict evidence. A high school graduate would have the same questions. A devotee should be able to explain why they are not valid, admit the unknowns within the model, or provide an enlightening answer. We get links to crank forums full of jargon, looks like a duck interpretations, and outright falsehoods. There's no peer reviewed interpretations or mathematic solutions just crap in return.

Omatumr at least signed his posts like he had dignity. also "black hole sun wont you come..." lol
Enthusiastic Fool
3.4 / 5 (5) Sep 14, 2015
Disclaimer: That was not an endorsement of Oliver K Manuel's personal life choices or "theories".

The ideas he was slinging were an entertaining thought experiment to me but don't seem to be backed up.

Clearly you are a fool.

Uhhhh....duh? At least one of us is self-aware.
Can't think...

Don't confuse me with cantdrive85.
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 15, 2015
The evidence suggests that things don't work the way they are currently modelled
[sic]@bs
but you haven't actually been able to prove that- otherwise you would be promoting your peer reviewed study here on PO with references, etc
This is the logical interpretation
not really: it is your perception of what you think is logical... this is also called conspiracist ideation, especially given your stance, lack of evidence
"other evidence?"
here's one: http://arxiv.org/...02v1.pdf

but taking that with lensing etc... again, you've not been able to refute with anything but claims...so...
The God of the gaps lies between your ears inspector
so, you don't understand how that applies to your argument and lash out? hit a sore spot?

no one is making any "DEFINITIVE statements of fact"... science is making testable hypothesis and pushing for knowledge, but i didn't expect you to understand that point (or the link i posted above: scientific method)
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 15, 2015
@bs cont'd
we shouldn't be making STATEMENTS of FACT about what does and doesn't dictate the motions of the cosmos
you're demonstrating your lack of scientific literacy: don't confuse pop-sci articles with scientific studies
I can prove that magnetic fields dictate the motion and structure that plasma exhibits
so? so can modern astrophysicists... so making a statement like
why I question any "gravitational" cause for any of these emissions
and pushing for plasma physics (even mainstream) smacks of eu propaganda. until you can publish (or supply) a valid and applicable reputable source peer reviewed paper then you are simply pushing your conjecture and attempting to pull a JVK... "i claim that i see this in the evidence, therefore it must be true, regardless of the science elsewhere"

this is the tactics of eu and people like cantdrive... not science, not scientists, and NOT someone literate in science and it's methods
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Sep 16, 2015
I am not looking for validation from mainstream peer review, it is a members only club and inclusion in it means you are either lying about what you believe so you can keep your status, or you really do believe as they and you do...in which case...well, you are has helpless as you are when it comes to understanding reality
@bsTROLL
1- this is called conspiracist ideation: http://www.ploson...tion=PDF

2- this demonstrates you have no scientific literacy: you don't understand it so you will use your vast Dunning-Kruger to argue with nonsense
i suggest trying to educate yourself. try this: http://ocw.mit.ed...ophysics

just because YOU don't understand it doesn't mean NO ONE understands it
2Bcont'd
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Sep 16, 2015
you are labelling established physics as conjecture
@bsTROLL
no, i am not: you simply can't understand what is going on
there is a difference
You are saying that
like i said: you don't understand what i posted

try re-reading the whole exchange back from the beginning...this started WRT DM and your "god of the gaps" argument-you made a claim that there was no evidence. i said you ASSUMED this

then you got YOURSELF confused about the topic because you decided to try to "interpret" what i said in light of your own BELIEFS instead of following the conversation - you start to degrade in the post you quoted

like i said: the problem is not what i posted, it is in your interpretation of what i posted, which is based upon your subjective beliefs and conspiracist ideation
(see study above)

this is why you can't comprehend peer review or the scientific method
it is why you refuse to accept science over belief and use circular argument
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Sep 16, 2015
without being even close to knowing enough
@bsTROLL
personal conjecture without evidence based upon conspiracist ideation and ignorance
you are mad because you couldn't stay on topic and still can't understand how you screwed the pooch
so your evaluation of another persons scientific literacy
given that you are incapable of comprehending the basics, evidence or peer review, you make this claim? fascinating
Just because YOU believe in the claims made by theoreticians doesn't mean WE ALL do
1- i believe NO claims
2- i follow the evidence
3- you can't comprehend the difference between a claim and evidence (as noted above, several times)

you made the argument from ignorance above & can't comprehend the difference between a claim and evidence
that justifies my assessment of your scientific literacy

you make CLAIMS above with no proof (again)
that also justifies my assessment

you retreat to circular argument = conspiracist ideation & TROLLING
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Sep 16, 2015
@bsTROLL cont'd
you continue to make the same claims without evidence
that justifies my assessment of your scientific literacy

you continue to try to interpret my posts with your own conspiracy ideation
that justifies my assessment of your scientific literacy

you misinterpreted a post, then contradicted yourself, quoted it, and tried to argue that i am the one who needs to "prove it. not infer", but your argument is not based upon current knowledge
that justifies my assessment of your scientific literacy

you make arguments about the validity of evidence but don't understand the scientific method
that justifies my assessment of your scientific literacy

you also make conspiracist ideation remarks about peer review with Dunning-Kruger overtones
that justifies my assessment of your scientific literacy

and until you can come up with EVIDENCE, i am just not going to continue

you are playing the rc tactic... you think the last word wins something
have fun
bye TROLL
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Sep 17, 2015
are a walking appeal to authority
@bs
nope: appeal to the EVIDENCE... big difference

i don't accept evidence of claims, articles, suggestions, blogs, pseudoscience, conspiracy, or any other subjective anything as relevant. it must be a study in the form of valid and validated conclusions. this differs from your POV in that you accept any discourse as validation of your own conclusions.

that is religion, not science
All you have to discredit a persons opinion is personal attacks
nope: EVIDENCE (see links)
also see above & link below
feel free to refute with evidence, but as i pointed out: you aint got none
see also my reply here:
http://phys.org/n...ate.html

One last point: you are here for attention, not science (obvious- like rc, ryg, cd, jvk etc)

so... unless you want to take this to SciForum or e-mail, i'm gonna ignore any further personal BS like the above, especially stuff without evidence, like above

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