Pox 186 galaxy
GS PAPER III: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
Context: A study found evidence of a galaxy in a 'blow-away' state, which could give more insight into the Universe's early stages.
- This new study shows that high-energy light from small galaxies may have played a key role in the early evolution of the Universe.
- The research gives insight into how the Universe became reionized, a problem that astronomers have been trying to solve for years.
- After the Big Bang, when the Universe was formed billions of years ago, it was in an ionized state.
- This means that the electrons and protons floated freely throughout space.
- As the Universe expanded and started cooling down, it changed to a neutral state when the protons and electrons combined into atoms, akin to water vapor condensing into a cloud.
- Now however, scientists have observed that the Universe is back in an ionized state. A major endeavor in astronomy is figuring out how this happened.
- Astronomers have theorized that the energy for reionization must have come from galaxies themselves.
- But, it's incredibly hard for enough high energy light to escape a galaxy due to hydrogen clouds within it that absorb the light, much like clouds in the Earth's atmosphere absorb sunlight on an overcast day.
- Using data from the Gemini telescope, the researchers have observed the first ever galaxy in a "blow-away" state, meaning that the hydrogen clouds have been removed, allowing the high energy light to escape.
- The scientists suspect that the blow-away was caused by many supernovas, or dying stars, exploding in a short period of time.
- The star-formation can be thought of as blowing up the balloon, however, the star-formation was more intense, then there would be a rupture or hole made in the surface of the balloon to let out some of that energy.
- In the case of this galaxy, the star-formation was so powerful that the balloon was torn to pieces, completely blown-away."
- The galaxy, named Pox 186, is so small that it could fit inside the Milky Way.
- The researchers suspect that its compact size, coupled with its large population of stars -- which amount to a hundred thousand times the mass of the sun -- made the blow-away possible.