Quiet birth

Galaxies probably don’t come into existence in a completely chaotic way, as scientists once thought. While their ‘birth’ does go hand in hand with explosions and turbulence, other than that it’s a pretty orderly affair. This was discovered by astronomer Renske Smit from the University of Cambridge. She and her team studied two young galaxies, using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), an enormous radio telescope in Chili.

Just like our Milky Way, the observed galaxies resemble vortices.

ALMA doesn’t ‘see’ the actual galaxies, but its antennae capture vibrations from matter floating around the galaxies. These vibration data are sent to a supercomputer. ‘This method allowed us to see carbon ions floating around these systems,’ Smit says. They created a pattern: a small, revolving disc, similar to the ‘vortex’ of the Milky Way.

Read more in ExperimentNL

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