What happened? NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the Large Millimeter/Minite Atacama Array (ALMA) in northern Chile have discovered half of the "dead" galaxies that appear to be the cold hydrogen gas needed to make stars much faster than expected. The technique used to find these anomalies is equally fascinating.
According to NASA, when the universe was about three billion years old, it was in its early stages of formation. But strangely enough, the six distant galaxies and the recently discovered massive mass no longer form stars because they released all the cold hydrogen gas, a major source of fuel.
< p> (The boxed and uncommon images show two of the six distant objects where giant galaxies have found their stars to have been interrupted by reduced fuel source - cold hydrogen gas.) Their size is still "dead" due to new star formation. So what was the problem?
Kate Whitaker, assistant professor of astronomy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the study's lead author, believes there are several possible explanations. Perhaps a supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy is heating up all the gas in the region. If so, the gas is still there, only hot. Or maybe the galaxy has simply exhausted all its reserves and nothing is left.
"These are some open questions that we will continue to explore with new notes." Whitaker added.
Researchers have used a technique called gravitational lensing for a very long time. In space, the gravity of large galaxy clusters is drawn in the foreground, amplifying the light of the background galaxies. It acts as a natural magnifying glass, allowing astronomers to study details in galaxies that wouldn't be possible with our current technology. "Using powerful next-generation space telescopes - but today with a combination of Hubble and ALMA capabilities, which are enhanced by powerful lenses," Whitaker said.
The team's research results have been published in the journal Nature.
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