Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hubble and Galaxy Zoo find bars and baby galaxies don't mix

Date:
January 16, 2014
Source:
Royal Astronomical Society (RAS)
Summary:
Harnessing the power of both the Hubble Space Telescope and the citizen science project Galaxy Zoo, scientists have found that bar-shaped features in spiral galaxies accelerate the galaxy aging process. The astronomers found that the fraction of spiral galaxies with bar features has doubled in the last eight billion years -- the latter half of the history of the universe.

A Hubble Space Telescope image of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1300, located 61 million light years away in the constellation of Eridanus.
Credit: HST / NASA / ESA

Harnessing the power of both the Hubble Space Telescope and the citizen science project Galaxy Zoo, scientists from the University of Portsmouth have found that bar-shaped features in spiral galaxies accelerate the galaxy aging process.

The astronomers found that the fraction of spiral galaxies with bar features has doubled in the last eight billion years -- the latter half of the history of the universe. The scientists publish their results, the first from the Galaxy Zoo: Hubble project, in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

University of Portsmouth postgraduate researcher Tom Melvin led the new study as part of his thesis work. He and the rest of the Galaxy Zoo science team used classifications provided by citizen scientists to select spiral galaxies across the Universe for the study. Light from the furthest galaxies has taken eight billion years to reach us, so we see them as they appeared eight billion years ago or when the cosmos was a little over half its present age. This allows astronomers to study how the characteristics of galaxies change over this time.

Many galaxies with spiral shapes (like the one we live in, the Milky Way) also have central bar-shaped features. These structures are made up of stars and the spiral arms extend from the ends of the bar.

Mr Melvin's group studied how the fraction of spiral galaxies with bars changed over time. They found that 8 billion years ago only 11% of spirals had bars, but by 2.5 billion years ago this proportion had doubled. In the present day universe two-thirds of galaxies have bars. And the more massive the galaxy, the more likely this is to be the case.

Mr Melvin comments: "This is a really interesting result which has been made possible by the contributions of citizen scientists, who yet again are helping cutting edge astronomical research when they spend time classifying galaxies at Galaxy Zoo."

The new work also confirms that bars signify maturity for spiral galaxies and may play an important role in switching off the formation of new stars. For some of the most massive spiral galaxies, this happened relatively early in the life of the universe.

Dr Karen Masters, also from Portsmouth University, and Project Scientist for Galaxy Zoo said, "It looks as though bars really are bad for spiral galaxies. As a bar grows in a galaxy, it is less likely to have any new stars being born and the galaxy settles down to a sedate maturity."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Thomas Melvin, Karen Masters, Chris Lintott, Robert C. Nichol, Brooke Simmons, Steven P. Bamford, Kevin R. V. Casteels, Edmond Cheung, Edward M. Edmondson, Lucy Fortson, Kevin Schawinski, Ramin A. Skibba, Arfon M. Smith, Kyle W. Willett. Galaxy Zoo: An independent look at the evolution of the bar fraction over the last eight billion years from HST-COSMOS. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2014 [link]

Cite This Page:

Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). "Hubble and Galaxy Zoo find bars and baby galaxies don't mix." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140116085103.htm>.
Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). (2014, January 16). Hubble and Galaxy Zoo find bars and baby galaxies don't mix. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140116085103.htm
Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). "Hubble and Galaxy Zoo find bars and baby galaxies don't mix." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140116085103.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA EDGE: OCO-2 Launch

NASA EDGE: OCO-2 Launch

NASA (July 25, 2014) NASA EDGE webcasts live from Vandenberg AFB for the launch of the Oribiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO) launch. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, July 25, 2014

This Week @ NASA, July 25, 2014

NASA (July 25, 2014) Apollo 11 celebration, Next Giant Leap anticipation, ISS astronauts appear in the House and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space to Ground: Coming and Going

Space to Ground: Coming and Going

NASA (July 25, 2014) One station cargo ship leaves, another arrives, aquatic research and commercial spinoffs. Questions or comments? Use #spacetoground to talk to us. Video provided by NASA
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:
from the past week

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