Conversations I Wish I Had

Galactic ‘rain’ explains why some galaxies are better at creating stars

After Big Bang

Some of the galaxies in our universe are veritable star nurseries. For example, our own Milky Way produces, on average, at least one new star every year. Others went barren years ago, now producing few if any new stars.

A galaxy cluster known as Abell 2597 was one of about 200 that were studied by a team of astronomers trying to determine why some galaxies are more prolific at making new stars than others. Led by MSU, the study found that galactic "precipitation," actually cooling gases, and its relationship to the black holes at the centers of the clusters, contribute to the regulation of star formation. Credit: Photo courtesy of NASA/CXC/STSci/DSS/Magellan. A galaxy cluster known as Abell 2597 was one of about 200 that were studied by a team of astronomers trying to determine why some galaxies are more prolific at making new stars than others. Led by MSU, the study found that galactic “precipitation,” actually cooling gases, and its relationship to the black holes at the centers of the clusters, contribute to the regulation of star formation.
Credit: Photo courtesy of NASA/CXC/STSci/DSS/Magellan.

Why that happens is a question that has dogged astronomers for years. But now, more than 20 years of research by a team led by Michigan State University has culminated in what might be the answer to that elusive…

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This entry was posted on March 6, 2015 by .
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