Astrophysicists crack star births puzzle in nearby galaxies.
The Zurich astrophysicists, headed by Robert Feldmann from the University of Zurich, used a statistical method to include nearby galaxies with unrecognized gas quantities in the analysis to crack star births puzzle. According to this, new stars devour the molecular gas within a billion years and the atomic gas in typical galaxies within ten billion years.
In broad terms, astronomers are well aware of how a new star is born from gas and dust: The molecular clouds collapse under their own gravity, thereby compressing matter more and more. At some point, the density becomes so big, this results in atoms merging and thus begins nuclear fusion – which thus results in the young star shining.
Researchers have come closer to the processes involved in the birth of a star and thus cracking the star births puzzle. According to this, the amount of gas present in galaxies, determines whether a new star begins to shine, reports the Zurich astrophysicist Robert Feldmann.
So-called starburst galaxies, in which significantly more new stars are formed, is typical for galaxies of this size and consume matter much faster than their less active siblings. The star birth cause appears to be based on another phenomenon, such as intergalactic interactions or instabilities in galactic disks.
With new observatories, it might be possible in the future to determine the gas content in distant galaxies. The Zurich researchers would therefore like to refine their methods in order to fully reveal the secret of star births.
What activates the star formation in the galaxies is still a big mystery, as the University of Zurich announced on Tuesday. One reason is that the current detection limits prevent an accurate measurement of gas masses in many galaxies.
Hopefully, this will solve the star births puzzle!