We know why old massive galaxies stopped forming new stars
| Astronomy / Physics

Scientists from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have managed to solve one of the fundamental mysteries of astronomy, the answer of which has been sought for years. Thanks to their work published in temper natureAnd We know why some of the oldest and largest galaxies stop being active so quickly No new stars appear.

The most massive galaxies in the universe formed very quickly, shortly after the Big Bang about 14 billion years ago. However, for some reason they stopped working. New stars are no longer formedProfessor Kate Whitaker says: The formation of new stars is one of the processes that enable galaxies to grow. We’ve known for a long time that early massive galaxies became inactive, but until now we didn’t know why.

Whitaker’s team combined data from the Hubble and Alma telescopes. The former observes the universe in the ultraviolet to near infrared range – including part of the range visible to the human eye – and the latter operates in the 0.32 to 3.6 mm spectrum, which our eyes cannot see.

Scientists searched for small amounts of cold gas using ALMA, which is the main source of energy for star formation. In the beginning of the universe, and therefore in these galaxies, there was a huge amount of this gas. Since these galaxies stopped forming new stars quickly, they should have left a lot of this gas,” the researchers predicted. However, they found that the galaxies under study had only a trace of cold gas near their centers in the first billion years. These galaxies either used up or dumped all the gas, and there may be some mechanism that prevents the galaxies from replenishing the gas..

In the next stage of the research, scientists want to find out how dense this gas is from ancient galaxies and why it is located only near their center.

star galaxy universe

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