Galactic Winds Give Clues to Galaxies’ Evolution

by Ernest Thomas
Galactic Winds Give Clues to Galaxies’ Evolution

In the Cigar Galaxy which is also known as M82, is popular for the 10 times faster speed in making new stars, as compared to Milky Way. Now, the data from SOFIA i.e. the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy is being used for studying the galaxy. It is used to know in details about the materials which affect the galaxies’ evolution. As per the latest study of the researchers, the galactic winds from the Cigar Galaxy’s center are aligned with a magnetic field. These winds are transporting a very big mass of dust and gases (almost equal to the mass of 50-60 million Suns.) Cigar Galaxy (M82) is a starburst galaxy because it forms a huge number of stars as compared to other galaxies.

A Universities Space Research Association scientist named Enrique Lopez-Rodriguez said that the space between the galaxies isn’t vacant. It has dust and gas which are the basic materials of galaxies. Cigar Galaxy blows strong winds into the intergalactic space and these winds also push the magnetic field of the galaxy in the same direction. The researchers had the aim of evaluating the efficiency of galactic wind. They hadn’t expected that they would find the magnetic field over such a large area, aligned with the wind. As per these observations, strong winds along with the starburst phenomenon may be responsible for injecting the magnetic field and seeding material. The researchers say that the fundamental evolution of the galaxies would have been very different if these kinds of processes had taken place in the early universe.

A professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota, Terry Jones said that studying these intergalactic magnetic fields will help them understand the evolution of galaxy in the past. He said that there is a new perspective on the magnetic fields with instruments like SOFIA’s HAWC and others. The newest instrument of HAWC+ makes use of far-infrared light for observing the celestial dust grains aligning with the magnetic field. These results would help the astronomers to infer the direction and shape of the magnetic field.

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