Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A twisted ring in the Galactic Centre

Date:
July 21, 2011
Source:
University of Hertfordshire
Summary:
Astronomers have observed unprecedented views of a ring in the center of our Milky Way galaxy with the Herschel Space Observatory.

Warmer gas and dust from the Centre of our Galaxy is shown in blue in the above image, while the colder material appears red. The ring, in yellow, is made of gas and dust at a temperature of just 15 degrees above absolute zero. The bright regions are denser, and include some of the most massive and active sites of star formation in our Galaxy
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Hertfordshire

Astronomers at the University of Hertfordshire are part of an international team which has observed unprecedented views of a ring in the centre of our Milky Way galaxy with the Herschel Space Observatory.

The ribbon of gas and dust is more than 600 light years across and appears to be twisted, for reasons which have yet to be explained. The origin of the ring could provide insight into the history of the Milky Way.

The new results are published in a recent issue of the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

"Hints of this feature were seen in previous images of the Galactic Centre made from the ground, but no-one realised what it was," explained Dr Mark Thompson of the University of Hertfordshire. "It was not until the launch of Herschel, with its unparalleled wavelength coverage, that we could measure the temperature of the dust clouds and determine its true nature."

The reason for the ring's twist and offset are unknown, but understanding their origin may help explain the origin of the ring itself. Computer simulations indicate that bars and rings such as those we see in the centre of our Galaxy can be formed by gravitational interactions. It is possible that the structures in the heart of the Milky Way were caused by interactions with our largest neighbour, the Andromeda Galaxy.

Herschel is a European Space Agency cornerstone mission, with science instruments provided by consortia of European institutes and with important participation by NASA. Herschel is a flagship mission of the UK Space Agency, which funds the UK's involvement in the UK-led SPIRE instrument. The SPIRE instrument was built, assembled and tested in the UK at The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire by an international consortium from Europe, US, Canada and China, with strong support from the Science and Technology Facilities Council. SPIRE was developed by a consortium of institutes led by Cardiff Univ. (UK). The images were obtained as part of the Herschel Key Project Hi-GAL, which is led by Sergio Molinari of the Institute of Space Physics in Rome and who is lead author of the new paper.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Hertfordshire. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Molinari, J. Bally, A. Noriega-Crespo, M. Compiθgne, J.P. Bernard, D. Paradis, P. Martin, L. Testi, M. Barlow, T. Moore, R. Plume, B. Swinyard, A. Zavagno, L. Calzoletti, A.M. Di Giorgio, D. Elia, F. Faustini, P. Natoli, M. Pestalozzi, S. Pezzuto, F. Piacentini, G. Polenta, D. Polychroni, E. Schisano, A. Traficante, M. Veneziani, C. Battersby, M. Burton, S. Carey, Y. Fukui, J.Z. Li, S.D. Lord, L. Morgan, F. Motte, F. Schuller, G.S. Stringfellow, J.C. Tan, M. A. Thompson, D. Ward-Thompson, G. White, G. Umana. A 100-parsec elliptical and twisted ring of cold and dense molecular clouds revealed by Herschel around the Galactic Center. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2011 (accepted) [link]

Cite This Page:

University of Hertfordshire. "A twisted ring in the Galactic Centre." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110721102135.htm>.
University of Hertfordshire. (2011, July 21). A twisted ring in the Galactic Centre. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110721102135.htm
University of Hertfordshire. "A twisted ring in the Galactic Centre." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110721102135.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) — A comet from the farthest reaches of the solar system passed extremely close to Mars this weekend, giving astronomers a rare opportunity to study it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) — Argentina launches a home-built satellite, a first for Latin America. It will ride a French-made Ariane 5 rocket into orbit, and will provide cell phone, digital TV, Internet and data services to the lower half of South America. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

NASA (Oct. 17, 2014) — Power spacewalk, MAVEN’s “First Light”, Hubble finds extremely distant galaxy and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Might Have A Hidden Ocean

Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Might Have A Hidden Ocean

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) — The smallest of Saturn's main moons, Mimas, wobbles as it orbits. Research reveals it might be due to a global ocean underneath its icy surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins