Starburst Galaxy Recipe For Increased Star Formation Revealed In New Observations Of Sculptor Galaxy

February 16, 2015 9:00 PM

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Starburst Galaxy Recipe For Increased Star Formation Revealed In New Observations Of Sculptor Galaxy

Some galaxies are experiencing a tremendous rate of star formation activity. Called starburst galaxies for that reason, they can produce stars up to 1,000 times faster than other galaxies, including our Milky Way. The Sculptor Galaxy, NGC 253, is a starburst galaxy just 11.5 million light-years from Earth, making it an ideal candidate for observation. Astronomers trained the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope in Chile on the Sculptor Galaxy to determine the differences between a starburst galaxy and a normal one to better understand the increased star formation activity in that type of galaxy.

Radio telescopes like ALMA let astronomers peer into the dense clouds of dust and gas within the Sculptor Galaxy to see how stars were forming in these stellar nurseries. "To understand why, we took one of the nearest such regions and pulled it apart – layer by layer – to see what makes the gas in t...

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