The venerable telescope mapped a galactic allo on the neighboring Andromeda galaxy using dozens of different quasars. Andromeda, formally known as M31, is a spiral-shaped galaxy about the same size Galaxy In the Milky Way we live, about 1 trillion stars. Cosmically, it is exactly 2.5 million light-years away from next door, meaning that Hubble can study its aura in unprecedented detail.
“This is a truly unique experiment because only with Andromeda we know its aura, not just with one or two visionlines, but over 40,” lead researcher Nicholas Lehner, University of Notre Dame in Indiana K is an astronomer. NASA said in a statement. “It’s amazing to capture the complexity of a galaxy halo beyond our own Milky Way.”
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Those visible lines are formed by active black holes located in the center of galaxies on opposite sides of Andromeda. These things are called Kaiser, Produce a lot of light and it is easy for scientists to study how the gases in the halo absorb some of that light, as is the study of the aura. So Hubble changed his ultraviolet gaze to 43 different quasars beyond Andromeda and analyzed their light to map gaseous charged carbon, silicon, and oxygen into the halo.
Andromeda is a galaxy Halo is not just a convenient target; Scientists also think that, given other similarities between our neighbor and our own galaxy, Andromeda’s halo can teach us about the Milky Way’s own halo, which is difficult to study from within the galaxy.
“Understanding the huge halt of gases surrounding galaxies is extremely important,” said Samantha Berek, who worked on research as an undergraduate at Yale University in Connecticut. “This reservoir of gas contains fuel to form future stars within the galaxy, as well as outflows from events such as Ernenovus. It is full of clues about the past and future evolution of the galaxy, and we will eventually find it Are capable of great study. In detail in our nearest Galactic neighbor. ”
Researchers found that the halo had spread much farther into space than they were expecting it to be 1.3 million light years away from the galaxy – and, in some places, like 2 million light years. If human eyes could see it, it would be three times as wide big Dipper, According to NASA. In harsh terms, the halo of Andromeda covers more than half the distance between Andromeda and the Milky Way, suggesting that the two halos interligate.
New research also found that the structure of Andromeda’s corona is also more complex with two complex layers than before. “We extend the inner cover about half a million light years, it is far more complex and dynamic,” said Lehner. “The outer shell is smooth and warm.”
Lehner and his colleagues suspect that the two-part structure of the halo may be caused by stellar bursts within the main disc of Andromeda called supernovae, which will affect the inner core of the halo more dramatically, raising it higher than the outer one. Will lift Supernova There are also an important mechanism for dispersing heavy elements, such as researchers have identified in this study, across the universe.
The research relied on Hubble’s ability to see in ultraviolet light, a rare talent among current space telescopes. But even Habbal can only make such a detailed map of the halo of very close galaxies; Most other galaxies do not have enough observatories for the telescope to focus on.
But if we are only going to keep a good eye on a galactic halo, it may be the one that overlaps with our own. And, finally, we will also be closer to Andromeda’s halo, as our two galaxies are slowly getting attracted to each other and will collide in a few billion years.
Research is described in a paper Published in The Astrophysical Journal on 27 August.
Email Meghan Bartels at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @meaganbartels. Follow us @Spacedotcom on Twitter and on Facebook.