(ORDO NEWS) — Most galaxies, including our own, grow by accumulating new material and turning it into stars – this is what scientists know about these processes. What remains unknown is where this new material comes from and how it flows into galaxies, where it turns into stars.
In a new study, astronomer Sanchayeeta Borthakur of Arizona State University, USA, has identified the faintly glowing “fuel reservoirs” that surround galaxies, as well as the mechanisms by which this gas falls into galaxies, resulting in the formation of new stars and planetary systems in galaxies. .
Previous studies of star formation have indicated that some galaxies are forming more stars than their gas reserves allow. This means, says Bortakour, that new gas is entering the galaxy from outside and supporting the formation of stars and planets.
“Observations of galaxies can be compared to observations of a city at night from an airplane window. As we fly, we see bright sources – the lights of the city at night – but we do not see the urban infrastructure, including roads and power lines, which maintains the brightness of the sources we see, ”Bortacour explained.
To determine the origin of the gas, Bortacour used the cross-correlation method (to assess the strength of the relationship between two random variables), as well as data from two open astronomical catalogs: the ALFALFA sky survey data catalog (Arecibo observatory), as well as the Survey of the Low-Redshift Intergalactic catalog Medium (Cosmic Origins Spectrograph instrument of the Hubble Space Telescope).
Using this data, the astronomer was able to show a quantitative relationship between gas-rich galaxies and the gas clouds of the intergalactic medium located in their vicinity.
“It’s like locating gas stations in a picture of a city with lots of cars on the road,” said Bortakour.
The astronomer’s next step in his research is to identify the routes that these clouds of gas can take to reach the central regions of galaxies where star formation occurs.
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