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OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Cold outflows from the Sculptor

Published on Monday, 01 June 2015 10:04


Data from the Atacama Large Millimetre Array show enormous outflows of molecular gas – cold carbon monoxide – from nearby galaxy NGC 253, the Sculptor galaxy. The image is a map of the velocity of the flow in three dimensions, with pink representing the fastest flow and red the slowest. This is a starburst galaxy, where stars are forming at an exceptionally high rate. At the same time, the same amount of gas flowed out of the galaxy; the ALMA data suggest 10 times the mass of the Sun leaves each year as molecular gas. High-mass galaxies are relatively rare in the universe; these galactic winds may blow away galactic gas, slowing or stopping star formation. These data came from ALMA with 16 antennas operating; the final array will use 64 and show much more detail. (ALMA [ESO/NAOJ/NRAO]/Erik Rosolowsky)


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