High-speed gas collisions prevent star birth in galaxies’ bars

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 - 08:50 in Astronomy & Space

The barred spiral galaxy NGC 1300 is one of the most spectacular galaxies in the heavens, but the dramatic bar that pierces its heart produces few if any stars — even though the bar abounds with the raw material for creating them. New computer simulations may explain the paradox in this and other galaxies with prominent bars. Galaxies form stars from clouds of interstellar gas and dust. But within the bar of NGC 1300, gas clouds smash together so fast they stir each other up and don’t collapse into stars, researchers say April 3 in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The finding suggests that high-speed collisions between gas clouds also helped suppress star formation shortly after the Big Bang. The brightest and most massive stars begin their lives with a blue hue, but they quickly die. If no new stars take their place, the population of stars as a whole eventually turns yellow-orange as less massive stars expand and become yellow, orange and...

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