Many of the Universe’s galaxies are like our own, displaying beautiful spiral arms wrapping around a bright nucleus. Examples in this stunning image, taken with the Wide Field Camera 3 on the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, include the tilted galaxy at the bottom of the frame, shining behind a Milky Way star, and the small spiral at the top center. Other galaxies are even odder in shape. Markarian 779, the galaxy at the top of this image, has a distorted appearance because it is likely the product of a recent galactic merger between two spirals.
According to new study small newfound galaxy with an oddball shape may be the product of a close encounter with a neighboring galaxy in what scientists are calling a “stealth merger”. The cosmic discovery came as astronomers investigated an isolated dwarf galaxy known as NGC 4449, which is about 12.4 million light-years away and is a “starburst galaxy,” meaning it forms young stars at a furious pace. This galaxy has a distorted shape as well, a look that is wreathed in hydrogen gas abounding with rings, shells and a core spinning the opposite way of the galaxy.
Thanks to the presence of a natural “zoom lens” in space, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope got a uniquely close-up look at the brightest “magnified” galaxy yet discovered. In this image the light from a distant galaxy, nearly 10 billion light-years away, has been warped into a nearly 90-degree arc of light in the galaxy cluster RCS2 032727-132623. The galaxy cluster lies 5 billion light-years away. So-called gravitational lens is produced when space is warped by a massive foreground object, whether it is the sun, a black hole or an entire cluster of galaxies.
NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) has captured the best and most complete glimpse yet of what lies beyond the solar system. The new measurements give clues about how and where our solar system formed, the forces that physically shape our solar system, and the history of other stars in the Milky Way. The Earth-orbiting spacecraft observed four separate types of atoms including hydrogen, oxygen, neon and helium. These interstellar atoms are the byproducts of older stars, which spread across the galaxy and fill the vast space between stars.
Astronomers have combined observations from the LABOCA camera on the ESO-operated 12-meter Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope with measurements made with ESO’s Very Large Telescope, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, and others, to look at the way that bright, distant galaxies are gathered together in groups or clusters. The more closely the galaxies are clustered, the more massive are their halos of dark matter, the invisible material that makes up the vast majority of a galaxy’s mass. The new results are the most accurate clustering measurements ever made for this type of galaxy.
Accroding to scientists powerful lasers that mimic the effects of supernovas are now helping reveal how the magnetic fields of galaxies may have formed in the early universe.
Astronomers have discovered a small galaxy that is invisible to telescopes and may be completely composed of dark matter, which reflects no light.The newfound galaxy is incredibly distant and extremely small. It orbits as a satellite of a larger galaxy. Though telescopes can’t spot the dwarf galaxy, scientists detected its presence through the tiny distortions its gravity causes to light that passes it by. The new dwarf galaxy is about 7 billion light-years away. It weighs about 190 million times the mass of the sun. According to study co-author Matthew Auger of the University of California, Santa Barbara this is the lowest mass galaxy that they have seen at this distance by far.
Astronomers using the partially completed ALMA observatory have found compelling evidence for how star-forming galaxies evolve into ‘red and dead’ elliptical galaxies, catching a large group of galaxies right in the middle of this change. According to lead investigator Dr. Carol Lonsdale of the North American ALMA Science Center at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Charlottesville, Virginia, despite ALMA’s great sensitiviy to detecting starbursts, they saw nothing, or next to nothing, which is exactly what they hoped it would see. For these observations, ALMA was tuned to look for dust warmed by active star-forming regions.
Most stars, likely including our own sun, grew up in cosmic turmoil, as illustrated in this new image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. The image shows one of the most active and turbulent regions of star birth in our Milky Way galaxy, a region called Cygnus X. The choppy cloud of gas and dust lies 4,500 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus or the “Swan.” It is home to thousands of massive stars and many more stars around the size of our sun or smaller. Spitzer has captured an infrared view of the entire region, bubbling with star formation. Most stars are thought to form in huge star-forming regions like Cygnus X.