Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Intense bursts of star formation drive fierce galactic winds

Date:
August 21, 2012
Source:
University of California - San Diego
Summary:
Fierce galactic winds powered by an intense burst of star formation may blow gas right out of massive galaxies, shutting down their ability to make new stars.

Matter blasts out of the starburst galaxy M82 in this composite image from three observatories.
Credit: Smithsonian Institution/Chandra X-ray Observatory

Fierce galactic winds powered by an intense burst of star formation may blow gas right out of massive galaxies, shutting down their ability to make new stars.

Related Articles


Sifting through images and data from three telescopes, a team of astronomers found 29 objects with outflowing winds measuring up to 2,500 kilometers per second, an order of magnitude faster than most observed galactic winds.

"They're nearly blowing themselves apart," said Aleksandar Diamond-Stanic, a fellow at the University of California's Southern California Center for Galaxy Evolution, who led the study. "Most galactic winds are more like fountains; the outflowing gas will fall back onto the galaxies. With the high-velocity winds we've observed the outflowing gas will escape the galaxy and never return."

Diamond-Stanic and colleagues published their findings in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The galaxies they observed are a few billion light years away with outflowing winds of 500 to 2,500 kilometers per second. Initially they thought the winds might be coming from quasars, but a closer look revealed these winds emanate from entire galaxies.

Young, bright and compact, these massive galaxies are in the midst of or just completing a period of star formation as intense as anyone has ever observed.

"These galactic-scale crazy-fast winds are probably driven by the really massive stars exploding and pushing out the gas around them," said Alison Coil, professor in UC San Diego's Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences and a co-author of the paper. "There's just such a high density of those stars it's like all these bombs went off near each other at the same time. Each bomb evacuates the area around it, then the next can push gas out further until they're evacuating gas on the scale of the whole galaxy."

Galaxies with winds this fast are also quite rare, opening up the question of whether these are unusual events or part of a common phase in the evolution of massive galaxies that is seldom observed because it is so brief.

Astrophysicists still lack an explanation for how and why star-making ends. Theorists who model the evolution of galaxies often invoke supermassive black holes called active galactic nuclei, which can also generate savage winds, to explain how gas needed to form stars can be depleted.

These new observations demonstrate that black holes may not be necessary to account for how these kinds galaxies run out of gas. "The winds seem to be powered by the starburst," Diamond-Stanic said. "The central supermassive black hole is apparently just a spectator for these massive stellar fireworks."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Aleksandar M. Diamond-Stanic, John Moustakas, Christy A. Tremonti, Alison L. Coil, Ryan C. Hickox, Aday R. Robaina, Gregory H. Rudnick, Paul H. Sell. HIGH-VELOCITY OUTFLOWS WITHOUT AGN FEEDBACK: EDDINGTON-LIMITED STAR FORMATION IN COMPACT MASSIVE GALAXIES. The Astrophysical Journal, 2012; 755 (2): L26 DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/755/2/L26

Cite This Page:

University of California - San Diego. "Intense bursts of star formation drive fierce galactic winds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120821094456.htm>.
University of California - San Diego. (2012, August 21). Intense bursts of star formation drive fierce galactic winds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120821094456.htm
University of California - San Diego. "Intense bursts of star formation drive fierce galactic winds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120821094456.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) An invisible barrier is keeping dangerous super fast electrons from interfering with our atmosphere, but scientists aren't entirely sure how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soyuz Spacecraft Docks With International Space Station: NASA

Soyuz Spacecraft Docks With International Space Station: NASA

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying Italy's first female astronaut safely docks with the International Space Station, according to NASA. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
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