Galaxies expel murkier gas than they take in

Credit: James Josephides, Swinburne Astronomical Productions. The outflow of galaxies is much dirtier than the gas that goes into them, according to research by an international team of astronomers. The research, published in The Astrophysical Journal, examines the ‘accretion’ and ‘outflow’ of galaxies – the atoms that flow in, and the atoms that are eventually … Continue reading Galaxies expel murkier gas than they take in

An algorithm that labels galaxies

Classifying galaxies currently needs to be done manually, requiring a lot of time from astronomers and citizen scientists. But a team of Australian astrophysicists has now developed a machine-learning algorithm that should speed the process up considerably. “Galaxies come in different shapes and sizes,” says Mitchell Cavanagh, a PhD candidate at the  University of Western … Continue reading An algorithm that labels galaxies

Missing matter

By Yuanming Wang, University of Sydney and Tara Murphy, University of Sydney We’ve all looked up at night and admired the brightly shining stars. Beyond making a gorgeous spectacle, measuring that light helps us learn about matter in our galaxy, the Milky Way. When astronomers add up all the ordinary matter detectable around us (such … Continue reading Missing matter

Star-making motion

Quantum physicist Richard Feynman once called turbulence “the most important unsolved problem of classical physics”. Even after centuries of research, scientists are still trying to understand the complex and unpredictable nature of turbulence down here on Earth, from weather patterns to blood flow in arteries. Astrophysical turbulence is perhaps even more perplexing. Now, in a … Continue reading Star-making motion

‘Fossil galaxy’ found deep in the Milky Way

Astronomers say they have discovered a “fossil galaxy” hidden in the depths of the Milky Way that may alter thinking on how our galaxy grew into what we see today. They have named it Heracles, after the hero of Greco-Roman mythology who received the gift of immortality when the Milky Way was created, and say … Continue reading ‘Fossil galaxy’ found deep in the Milky Way

Shedding new light on star formation

Australian astronomers have developed a new model to study the birth of stars, spanning cosmic time from the beginning of the Universe until today. The algorithm, created by researchers at the University of Western Australia’s node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) along with an international team, succeeded in accurately reconstructing star … Continue reading Shedding new light on star formation

Galaxies trapped in web of a giant black hole

Astronomers have detected six galaxies lying around a supermassive black hole when the Universe was less than a billion years old. It is the first time such a close grouping has been seen so soon after the Big Bang, they say, and the finding supports the theory that black holes can grow rapidly within large, … Continue reading Galaxies trapped in web of a giant black hole

Can a black hole fire up a cold heart?

Radio astronomers have detected jets of hot gas blasted out by a black hole 5.9 billion light-years away in the constellation Phoenix. It’s an important result, they suggest, for helping explain the co-evolution of galaxies, gas and black holes in galaxy clusters. The work was led by Takaya Akahori from the National Astronomical Observatory of … Continue reading Can a black hole fire up a cold heart?

SpaceWatch: Counting galaxies and stars

The Universe may be big, but we’re rolling out the technology to try to understand it. Here are three updates on how we’re looking and what we’re seeing. A sort of Milky Way far away Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have discovered an extremely distant galaxy they say looks surprisingly like the … Continue reading SpaceWatch: Counting galaxies and stars

Astronomers find source of four radio bursts

Fast radio bursts are one of the biggest mysteries in astronomy. The immensely powerful bursts of radiation appear randomly from points in the Universe. They flash without warning, releasing as much energy in the blink of an eye as our Sun will emit in 80 years. They can’t be predicted, and usually occur only once, … Continue reading Astronomers find source of four radio bursts

A ‘cosmic ring of fire’ of 11 billion years ago

Astronomers have observed a rare galaxy type as it existed 11 billion years ago, and this, they say, is likely to shake up theories about the earliest formation of galactic structures and how they evolve. Shaped like a gigantic doughnut and described as a “cosmic ring of fire”, galaxy R5519 is roughly the mass of … Continue reading A ‘cosmic ring of fire’ of 11 billion years ago

Early disc galaxy puts theories in a spin

Astronomers have found a massive rotating disc galaxy that formed just 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang, when the Universe was only 10% of its current age. Galaxy DLA0817g is the most distant such galaxy ever observed and challenges traditional models of galaxy formation, Marcel Neeleman and colleagues write in a paper in the journal Nature. Nicknamed … Continue reading Early disc galaxy puts theories in a spin