A group of scientists managed to draw a map for the first time Hungarian wind, which is the gas tank of a galaxy, and thus discovered part of its “missing” matter.
“The galaxies “Rarely are negative islands of stars”, rather they are dynamic structures, the formation of which we are just beginning to discover, and their evolution,” astrophysicist Nicholas Boschi explained to AFP.
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According to current theories, galaxies are formed mainly by the so-called dark matter, of an unknown and invisible nature, and hardly for 16% of baryons, that is, atoms and molecules that we know about.
To make matters more difficult, current observations of the galaxy reveal only 20% of those baryons. The rest, “lost” matter, is being swept away by the galactic winds, a nebula of gas and dust caused by the explosion of stars within the galaxy.
An international team led by researchers from the Lyon Center for Research in Astrophysics (Cral) has been able to map a nebula made of that missing material, using the Moses Spectrograph of the VLT Large Telescope installed by European Southern Observatory In the Chilean Atacama Desert.
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“It’s as if we’ve seen an iceberg for the first time,” explains Nicolas Bosch, a French researcher and co-author of the study, which was published Thursday in the prestigious British journal MNRAS, with Johannes Zabel, from the Department of Astronomy at Canada’s Saint Mary’s University.
Other researchers had located nebulae in galaxies, but they were more diffuse. This time, observing Gal1, a fairly young galaxy, about 1,000 million years old, allowed us to detect “a cloud of gas produced by that galactic wind, which escapes from both sides of the galactic disk, through two asymmetric cones”.
The dimensions of this cloud are enormous, on the order of more than 80,000 light-years from the center of Gal1. In comparison, we have Milky Way Its diameter is about 100,000 light-years. This cloud is a type of deposition of matter, equal to only “10 to 20% of the mass of the galaxy” detected, Busch explains.
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Part of the cloud flows back into the galactic disk to form those stars, some of which end up exploding, returning matter toward the nebula, in a continuous circle.
The astronomers were lucky to have a quasar as their “beacon”, a particularly luminous object in the universe, which allowed the discovery of magnesium, an essential component of these nebulae, given its proximity to the Gal1 galaxy.
France Press agency
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