Detailed cross-section of another galaxy reveals surprising similarities to our home
The first detailed cross-section of a galaxy broadly similar to the Milky Way, published today, reveals that our galaxy evolved gradually, instead of being the result of a violent mash-up. The finding throws the origin story of our home into doubt.
The galaxy, dubbed UGC 10738, turns out to have distinct ‘thick’ and ‘thin’ discs similar to those of the Milky Way. This suggests, contrary to previous theories, that such structures are not the result of a rare long-ago collision with a smaller galaxy. They appear to be the product of more peaceful change.
And that is a game-changer. It means that our spiral galaxy home isn’t the product of a freak accident. Instead, it is typical.
Unusual galaxy set to prompt rethink on how structures in the Universe form
Astronomers have captured an image of a super-rare type of galaxy – described as a “cosmic ring of fire” – as it existed 11 billion years ago.
The galaxy, which has roughly the mass of the Milky Way, is circular with a hole in the middle, rather like a titanic doughnut. Its discovery, announced in the journalNature Astronomy, is set to shake up theories about the earliest formation of galactic structures and how they evolve.
Modelling shows big galaxies get bigger by merging with smaller ones
grow large by eating their smaller neighbours, new research reveals.
how massive galaxies attain their size is poorly understood, not least because
they swell over billions of years. But now a combination of observation and
modelling from researchers led by Dr Anshu Gupta from Australia’s ARC Centre of
Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D) has provided a
Astronomers from CSIRO and
Curtin University have used pulsars to probe the Milky Way’s magnetic field.
Working with colleagues in Europe, Canada, and South Africa, they have
published the most precise catalogue of measurements towards mapping our
Galaxy’s magnetic field in 3-D.
The Milky Way’s magnetic
field is thousands of times weaker than Earth’s, but is of great significance
for tracing the paths of cosmic rays, star formation, and many other
astrophysical processes. However, our knowledge of the Milky Way’s 3-D
structure is limited.
On a series of calm, cool mornings in April 2017, 70 French scientists (from the French space science agency CNES, CNRS IRAP, and the Université Paul Sabatier de Toulouse) launched three enormous balloons into the sky above the heart of Australia.
CNES was using the Alice Springs Balloon Launching Centre (ASBLS) to send three precision scientific instruments up to altitudes of 30–40 kilometres to make observations that are impossible from the ground.
Monster black holes lurking in the centres of galaxies are hungrier than previously thought, Melbourne scientists have discovered.
Astrophysicist Alister Graham and his team at Swinburne University have revealed that these so-called supermassive black holes consume a greater portion of their galaxy’s mass the bigger the galaxy gets. The discovery overturns the longstanding belief that these supermassive black holes are always a constant 0.2 per cent of the mass of all the other stars in their galaxy.