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When two galaxies merge, there are brief periods of stellar baby booms. A group of astronomers led by Lingyu Wang (SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research) has now used a sample of over 200,000 galaxies to confirm that galaxy mergers are the driving force behind star bursts. It is the first time that scientists have used artificial intelligence in a galaxy merger study. The results are published in Astronomy & Astrophysics on October 21st.
One of the most pressing questions in astronomy is how and when stars formed in galaxies. The universe contains hundreds of billions of galaxies, and they come in many shapes and forms. Take, for example, the Sombrero Galaxy, the Black Eye Galaxy, the Whirlpool Galaxy or our own Milky Way, stretching across the entire sky. Each harbors hundreds of billions of stars. How and when did all those stars emerge on the cosmic stage?
Hypothesis - Astrophysicists - Galaxy - Mergers - Hand-in-hand
A popular hypothesis among astrophysicists is that galaxy mergers go hand-in-hand with short starburst phases and an increase of around a factor two in star formation over the whole duration of the merger. Mergers would produce shock waves in the interstellar gas, igniting significant baby booms of stars. The...
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