Astrophysicists at the University of Kansas discovered a very rare species of galaxies for the first time, fundamentally changing our understanding of how galaxies would die.
At the 234th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in St. Louis on Thursday, physicist Allison Kirkpatrick announced the discovery of 22 objects called "cold quasars" – incredibly bright galaxies – that die in the farthest regions of the universe.
The University of Kansas / Michelle Vigeant
Quasars are known as massive black holes surrounded by huge amounts of gas and dust, making them super bright, brighter than the traditional galaxy, and can be created when two galaxies merge and black holes collide.
For example, the beginning of the end of our galaxy will take place a few billion years later, as it is in a collision course with the Andromeda galaxy, our closest neighbor, and the two galaxies will end up creating quasars resulting from the impact of the collision.
Eventually, gas and dust will begin to fall in the middle of the "quasars" and will be detonated in space. Astronomers speculated that this point is essentially the end of galactic life, that is, when the ability to form new stars becomes "negative".
But Kirkpatrick and her team have discovered that a small part of these "cold quasars" are the new stars.
Scientists examined the sky using X-rays and infrared telescopes and found 22 quasars at a distance of 6-12 billion light-years, showing unusual shapes.
Kirkpatrick said these distant objects glow bright enough to trigger death, but they still contain cool clouds of dust, suggesting they have not yet lost the ability to give birth to new stars.
"These galaxies are rare because they are in transition," Kirkpatrick said. "We observed them before the star formation was extinguished in the galaxy, and this transition period is supposed to be very short."
Kirkpatrick said at the press conference that the wind was incredibly strong when it moved through the galaxy, so this period will last for about 10 million years, a blink of an eye given the time frames of the universe, so, these "cold quasars" are rare in the form Its discovery is an important step in determining the maturation of galaxies, their eventual survival and death.
Kirkpatrick believes that this will be the fate of our galaxy, but we still have 3 to 4 billion years ago for such an event, and perhaps we will face other problems by then, like the expanding sun ready to swallow the whole earth.