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The Hubble and ALMA telescope solve mysteries about dead galaxies

The Hubble and ALMA telescope solve mysteries about dead galaxies

NASA’s Hubble Telescope has solved another stellar mystery. After that, the galaxies stop producing stars when the gas tap is turned off.

A team of researchers from universities in the USA, Canada, Denmark and France used a kind of trick to find out why galaxies, which should have been at the peak of their creative power, suddenly stopped producing stars. This trick is to focus on galaxies so far from Earth that everything we see living on the lenses of our space telescopes actually happened billions of years ago.

Researchers take a visual journey through time

To answer the question of why galaxies die, the team targeted six cosmic objects ten to twelve billion light-years from Earth. A combination of two high-performance telescopes and a special lens was used.

With the help of a NASA veteran named Hubble, who has orbited the Earth since the 1980s, and the Atacama Large Millimeter/ Sub-millimeter Array (ALMA), an international radio telescope observatory in the northern Chilean Andes, researchers have investigated operations at the extreme. Distant galaxies as if in some kind of time travel.

The galaxy shown here in the center is 10 billion light-years away from Earth. (Photo: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Newman, M. Akhshik, K. Whitaker)

The gravitational lens helped them to amplify the collected light. Because the angle of view of the lens moved along a line lined up with hundreds of other galaxy clusters whose gravity was strong enough to pull and extend rays of light from the six observed galaxies on their way to Earth. This allowed the team to see details that Hubble would have otherwise ignored.

Gas supply is critical to star production

ALMA, in turn, used these details to examine galaxies for their cold gas content. Cold gas is a true stellar fuel and, according to collective scientific opinion, is said to have been abundant in the early universe – shortly after the Big Bang about 14 billion years ago. The team suspected there might be a shortage of cold gas in inactive galaxies.

This suspicion has now been confirmed. Combining data from the two skywatchers showed that some of the early galaxies ran out of star fuel shortly after their formation. However, it is not entirely clear why these galaxies emptied so quickly. It’s also conceivable that something prevented them from getting supplies, according to the researchers in a research paper published in the journal Science on Wednesday. temper nature has been published.

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