Astronomers have figured out how galaxies change their shape

(ORDO NEWS) — The researchers were able to answer a decade-old question about the evolution of galaxies by using the power of artificial intelligence in their research.

Since the invention of the Hubble sequence, which classifies the morphology of galaxies, in 1926, astronomers have improved our understanding of the evolution and morphology of galaxies as technology advances.

By the 1970s, researchers had become convinced that single galaxies tend to be spiral in shape, while those found in galaxy clusters are more likely to be elliptical and lenticular.

A new study by astronomers at the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) uncovers the reason for these differences in galaxy shapes.

Lead author Dr Joel Pfeffer of the University of Western Australia said the study explains the “morphology-to-density relationship” where clustered galaxies appear smoother and featureless than their solitary counterparts.

“We’ve found that when there’s a large cluster of galaxies, several different things happen,” said Dr. Joel Pfeffer.

“The spiral arms of galaxies are very fragile. As density increases in galaxy clusters, spiral galaxies begin to lose their gas.

This loss of gas causes them to shed their spiral arms and change their shape to a lenticular shape.

Another reason is galaxy mergers, in which two or more spiral galaxies can collide with each other to form one large elliptical galaxy.”

The study used EAGLE modeling to analyze a group of galaxies in detail using an artificial intelligence algorithm to classify galaxies according to their shape.

The neural network algorithm can classify almost 20,000 galaxies per minute.

The simulation results closely match what has been observed in the universe, giving researchers the confidence to use the simulation results to interpret observations of galaxy clusters.

The study also revealed several lenticular galaxies outside of high-density regions, with simulations suggesting they were created from a merger between two galaxies.

Dr. Pfeffer said that this work brings together various studies in the field of galactic evolution to understand the relationship between morphology and density.


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