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A Dusty Haze Around Blue Compact Dwarf Galaxies

Date:
May 9, 2002
Source:
Max Planck Society
Summary:
Just as dust in the earth's atmosphere causes the setting sun to dim and glow red, so dust in galaxies shows its presence by preferentially blocking out the blue components of light emitted from stars. But just how much dust is in galaxies, and how much of the starlight is blocked out? To answer these questions Dr Richard J. Tuffs, Dr. Cristina C. Popescu, Dr. D. Pierini and Prof. Heinrich J. Völk of the Astrophysics department of the Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, in cooperation with scientists from foreign institutes, have measured the infrared brightness of spiral and dwarf galaxies in the Virgo cluster. They discovered surprisingly large quantities of cold dust, typically ten times that previously known (The Astrophysical Journal, March 2002).

Just as dust in the earth's atmosphere causes the setting sun to dim and glow red, so dust in galaxies shows its presence by preferentially blocking out the blue components of light emitted from stars. But just how much dust is in galaxies, and how much of the starlight is blocked out? To answer these questions Dr Richard J. Tuffs, Dr. Cristina C. Popescu, Dr. D. Pierini and Prof. Heinrich J. Völk of the Astrophysics department of the Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, in cooperation with scientists from foreign institutes, have measured the infrared brightness of spiral and dwarf galaxies in the Virgo cluster. They discovered surprisingly large quantities of cold dust, typically ten times that previously known (The Astrophysical Journal, March 2002). Furthermore, estimates of the total amount of light emitted by the stars in the galaxies must now be revised sharply upwards, since the same observations show that up to 50 percent of the visible and ultraviolet light is being transformed into infrared radiation undetectable with human eyes. On top of this, analysis of the infrared emission indicates that some blue compact dwarf galaxies are surrounded by huge conglomerations of cosmic dust, quite possibly tracing intergalactic gas streaming down into the galaxies and giving rise to new generations of stars.


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The above story is based on materials provided by Max Planck Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Max Planck Society. "A Dusty Haze Around Blue Compact Dwarf Galaxies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 May 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020508072847.htm>.
Max Planck Society. (2002, May 9). A Dusty Haze Around Blue Compact Dwarf Galaxies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020508072847.htm
Max Planck Society. "A Dusty Haze Around Blue Compact Dwarf Galaxies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020508072847.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

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