Galaxies

The Large Magellanic Cloud, the area N113 and the molecules detected (Image NRAO/AUI/NSF; ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO); Herschel/ESA; NASA/JPL-Caltech; NOAO)

An article published in the journal “The Astrophysical Journal Letters” describes the detection of hot cores and the most complex molecules detected outside the Milky Way in the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of the Milky Way’s satellite dwarf galaxies. A team led by astronomer Marta Sewilo of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center used the ALMA radio telescope to conduct those measurements that contradict previous observations in what was considered a chemically primitive galaxy.

The Cartwheel Galaxy (Image ESA/Hubble & NASA)

An image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope shows the Cartwheel Galaxy shows its particular structure that combines features of a lenticular galaxy and a ring galaxy. Its unusual shape is probably the result of a collision with another smaller galaxy that caused a series of shock waves in its nucleus that pushed gas and dust outwards. A long-term consequence of that accumulation of gas in the outer ring is the birth of a lot of massive stars, visible in blue.

The galaxies SDSS J1354+1327 and SDSS J1354+1328 (Image NASA , ESA, and J. Comerford (University of Colorado-Boulder))

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal” describes the observation of two events consisting of a supermassive black hole that swallowed large amounts of gas and then emits a part of them in the form of very high-energy jets. A team of astronomers led by Julie Comerford of the University of Colorado at Boulder used observations made with various telescopes to capture this repeated activity at the center of a galaxy known as SDSS J1354+1327 or simply J1354.

The early galaxies observed by ALMA in the sky observed by Hubble (Image Hubble (NASA/ESA), ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), P. Oesch (University of Geneva) and R. Smit (University of Cambridge))

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes the first observation of the movement of gas inside two small newborn galaxies about 13 billion light years away from Earth. A team led by the Dutch astronomer Renske Smit of the Kavli Institute of Cosmology at the University of Cambridge, UK, used the ALMA radio telescope to detect the processes underway in those early galaxies, verifying that the gas moves similarly to galaxies such as Milky Way. These results were also presented at the 231st meeting of the American Astronomical Society, which was held this week.

The Milky Way's halo in the Pan-Starrs1 map (Image courtesy Giuseppina Battaglia (Iac))

An article published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” describes a research on a group of red giant stars located in the halo surrounding the Milky Way. A team of astronomers led by Giuseppina Battaglia of the Istituto de Astrof√≠sica de Canarias examined the composition of a 28-star sample discovering that the presence of some chemical elements is quite different from the halo’s innermost regions. The conclusion is that they were not born in our galaxy but in ancient dwarf galaxies that were absorbed by the Milky Way.