Scientists from Cardiff University have helped create a brand new three-dimensional study of our galaxy that will allow them to look inside, structure and observe its star-forming processes in unprecedented detail.
The large-scale study called SEDIGISM (Structure, Excitation and Dynamics of the Inner Galactic Interstellar Medium) has discovered a multitude of structures in the Milky Way, from single star-forming clumps to huge molecular clouds and complexes. This will allow astronomers to begin pushing the boundaries of what we know about the structure of our galaxy.
SEDIGISM was revealed today through the publication of three separate articles in the Royal Astronomical Society’s monthly bulletin, written by an international team of over 50 astronomers.
« With the publication of this unprecedentedly detailed map of cold clouds in our Milky Way, an enormous amount of observation is required, » says Frederic Schuller from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR), lead author of one of the three publications in which the data release is presented becomes.
Dr. Ana Duarte Cabral, Royal Society University research fellow at Cardiff University’s School of Physics and Astronomy, was the lead author of one of the papers and has a catalog of over 10. 000 clouds of molecular gas in our Milky Way galaxy.
The Milky Way, named for its blurry appearance from Earth, is a spiral galaxy with an estimated diameter between 170. 000 and 200. 000 light years, which contains between 100 and 400 billion stars.
The Milky Way consists of a core region surrounded by a warped disk of gas and dust that provides the raw materials from which new stars are formed.
For Dr. Duarte Cabral’s new catalog of gas clouds will enable scientists to study precisely how the spiral structure of our own Milky Way galaxy affects the life cycle of clouds, their properties and ultimately the formation of stars in them.
« The most exciting thing about this survey is that it can really help determine the global galactic structure of the Milky Way and provide an amazing 3D view of the inner galaxy, » she said.
« With this survey, we really have an opportunity to push the boundaries of what we know about the global impact of galactic structures and dynamics on molecular gas distribution and star formation because of the improved sensitivity, resolution. and the 3D view. ”
The catalog of molecular gas clouds was created by measuring the rare isotope of the carbon monoxide molecule 13CO with the extremely sensitive 12-meter telescope Atacama Pathfinder Experiment on the Chajnantor Plateau in Chile.
This allowed the team to make more accurate estimates of the mass of the gas clouds and learn about their speed, resulting in a truly three-dimensional image of the galaxy.
Dr. Duarte Cabral and colleagues are already beginning to work out information from the huge amount of data that is available to them.
« The survey found that only a small fraction of these clouds, about 10%, have dense gas with progressive star formation, » said James Urquhart of the University of Kent, lead author of the third paper.
Similarly, the results of Dr. Duarte Cabral’s work suggests that the structure of the Milky Way is not as well defined and that the spiral arms are not as clear.
They have also shown that the properties of clouds do not seem to depend on whether a cloud is in a spiral arm or in an inter-arm region where they expected very different physics to play a role.
« Our results already show us that the Milky Way may not be a strong spiral galaxy with a great design as we thought, but it might be more flaky, » continued Dr. Duarte Cabral gone.
« This survey can be used by anyone who wants to study the kinematics or physical properties of individual molecular clouds, or even conduct statistical studies of larger cloud samples, and therefore, on its own, is an enormous legacy for the star formation community. ”
Galaxy, Milky Way, Star, Structure, Observation
World News – GB – Measuring the sky extends the limits of what we know about the structure of our galaxy – ScienceDaily – Up News Info
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