The giant galaxies of the ancient universe had very small amounts of stellar gas, according to a study

First, huge galaxies in the universe had to carry a large amount of cold molecular gas to make the stars. But new observations from the Atakama large millimeter / small millimeter Arre (Alma) and NASA / Isa Hubble space telescope show that these galaxies at first had very little dust, and in turn very little molecular gas; The implication is that because of the rapid depletion or elimination of molecular gas reserves, the first galaxies shut down star formation.

This galaxy cluster MACSJ 0138 integrated image shows information from Alma and Hubble. Image Credit Alma / Iso / Naoje / Nara / S. Dagnelo, NRAO / STScI / Whitaker Inter alia.

Dr. Kate Whitker, an astronomer at the University of Massachusetts, said: “The largest galaxies in the universe were moving fast and furiously.

“Star fuel must be abundant in the universe during these early times.

He believed that the first galaxies hit the brakes a few billion years after the Great Depression.

In our new study, early galaxies did not press the brakes, but instead ran empty.

Dr. Whitaker and colleague AL Alma and Hubble used six solid lenses to observe galaxies: MRG-M134115, MRG-M013816, MRG-M212917, MRG-M015016, MRG-M045418, and MRG-M142318.

The study was part of a study of the RESolving QUIEscent Magnified (REQUIEM) galaxy, which uses giant galaxies as natural telescopes.

The observations allowed the authors to determine the amount of gas in the galaxy in millimeters of wavelength – the next release of the galaxies.

The team discovered that the cessation of star formation in these galaxies was not due to the sudden evolution of cold gas into stars. Rather, it was the result of depletion of gas reserves in galaxies.

“We do not yet understand why this is happening, but possible explanations may be that the main gas supply to the galaxy has been cut off, or that a huge black hole is generating energy to heat the galaxy,” he said. Christina Williams, an astronomer at the University of Arizona.

Essentially, this means that the galaxies are unable to refuel the fuel tank, and therefore cannot start the engine on star production.

Although astronomers now say that these galaxies work in space and prevent something from filling the tank and making new stars, the study represents only the first in a series of inquiries as to what the previous giant galaxies went for.

“We still have a lot to learn about why the giant galaxies were created in the beginning of the universe and why they shut down their star formations when so much cold gas was easily available,” said Dr. Whitaker.

The fact that these giant cosmos created 100 billion stars in just one billion years and suddenly closed their star formation is a mystery that we all want to solve, and REQUIEM has given the first clue.

The results of the group are shown in the journal Nature.


K. Whitaker Inter alia. 2021. Flight from starvation to galaxies. Nature 597, 485-488; doi: 10.1038 / s41586-021-03806-7

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