Gas From Outside Galaxy Will Fuel Stars Inside

Jan 24, 2022 | Daily Space, Galaxies, Milky Way

IMAGE: Illustration of the faint fuel reservoirs that surround galaxies, allowing them to form new stars and planetary systems. CREDIT: Shireen Dooling/ASU

Over time, our galaxy will stop forming new stars unless new gas is introduced, and a new paper published in The Astrophysical Journal and led by Sanchayeeta Borthakur indicates that our Milky Way will have the ability to refuel, at least for a little while. Using archival data, she found faint traces of gas in the space beyond our main galaxy. She explains: Observations of galaxies are similar to looking through an airplane window at night and seeing bright city lights surrounded by darkness. Finding this fuel source is like discovering that in the darkness lies the farms and supply routes that support the populations in the cities.

In follow-up research, Bothakur plans to study how that gas can fall into the Milky Way and make its way all the way to the galactic core. She goes on to explain: Galaxies like ours will continue to grow by forming many more solar systems as new material comes in. Understanding the source of the star fuel allows us to predict if new stars will be formed in the future.

It is amazing what can be found in the amazing archival data set aside by numerous telescopic surveys.

More Information

ASU press release

How are Lyα Absorbers in the Cosmic Web Related to Gas-rich Galaxies?“, Sanchayeeta Borthakur, 2022 January 19, The Astrophysical Journal

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