In idea, chilly, impartial fuel is the important thing to stars and galaxies.
When fuel clouds gravitationally collapse, new stars can kind.
One the fuel is totally gone, nevertheless, star formation ceases.
Paradoxically, the most important starbursts can break a galaxy’s future star-forming potential.
Starburst galaxies are uncommon, occurring when the whole galaxy turns into a star-forming area.
The closest one is the Cigar Galaxy (Messier 82), merely 12 million light-years away.
Its larger neighbor’s gravitational influence is triggering this starburst.
In 2019, NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) studied the Cigar Galaxy’s gas with unprecedented sensitivities.
SOFIA observes at 41,000+ ft, avoiding 99% of atmospheric water vapor: infrared astronomy’s largest nemesis.
Researchers found its enormous galactic wind is aligned along internal magnetic field lines.
Enormous portions of fuel and dirt — upwards of fifty,000,000 Suns — is being transported into intergalactic area, dragging the sector with it.
This episode of copious star formation might deplete the Cigar Galaxy fully.
Novel science continues, even throughout this pandemic, with worldwide cooperation.
New SOFIA observations are being conducted over Germany, investigating ionized carbon: a key tracer of star formation.
Combined observations of star start, winds, and matter transport will reveal key relationships underlying galaxy evolution.
Mostly Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in pictures, visuals, and not more than 200 phrases. Talk much less; smile extra.