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Galaxy formation

Analysis and Comment (11)

An artist’s impression of a galactic protocluster forming in the early universe. An artist’s impression of a galactic protocluster forming in the early universe. European Southern Observatory

From galactic pile-ups, stars are born: a crash course in clusters

Clusters of galaxies have back-stories worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster: their existences are marked by violence, death and birth, arising after extragalactic pile-ups where groups of galaxies crashed…
Gemini North observatory, on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, shoots a laser beam into the night sky to create an ‘artificial star’, part of a process that helps astronomers remove blurring from any images of galaxies. Gemini North observatory, on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, shoots a laser beam into the night sky to create an ‘artificial star’, part of a process that helps astronomers remove blurring from any images of galaxies. Gemini Observatory and Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy

Laser helps find supermassive black hole in a small galaxy

A supermassive black hole has been found in an ultracompact dwarf galaxy – the smallest galaxy known to contain such a massive black hole. This finding, published today in Nature, suggests that supermassive…
There are some massive galaxies out there, and we now know a little about their early life. There are some massive galaxies out there, and we now know a little about their early life. Lauro Roger McAllister/Flickr

It’s about time: young galaxies were dense, intense star-makers

A piece of the galaxy formation puzzle may have fallen into place, thanks to a team of European and American astronomers peering into the depths of our early universe. According to new research published…
A dwarf galaxy: a challenge for modern cosmology? This dwarf galaxy ESO 540-31 is more than 11 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Cetus (The Whale). A dwarf galaxy: a challenge for modern cosmology? This dwarf galaxy ESO 540-31 is more than 11 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Cetus (The Whale). , Luca LimatolaESA/Hubble & NASA

A cosmic two-step: the universal dance of the dwarf galaxies

Over the last few years we’ve been studying the orbits of dwarf galaxies and we expecting to find them buzzing at random around large galaxies. But looking out into the universe, we see some dwarfs undertaking…
Arp220 is a nearby Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxy similar to what ALESS65 would look like if it were closer to Earth. Arp220 is a nearby Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxy similar to what ALESS65 would look like if it were closer to Earth. NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University)

Red and dead future for a galaxy running out of star fuel

A galaxy more than 12 billion light years from Earth is heading for a “red and dead” future because it is running out of the fuel needed to make new stars. The galaxy, known as ALESS65, is an ultra-luminous…
The Andromeda galaxy and its companions is challenging the very foundations of cosmology. The Andromeda galaxy and its companions is challenging the very foundations of cosmology. Adam Evans/Wikimedia Commons

Cosmic dance challenges our understanding of the universe

Deep images of the sky reveal that the universe contains billions of galaxies. Some, such as our own Milky Way, are immense, containing hundreds of billions of stars. Most galaxies, however, are dwarfs…
The black hole at the centre of NGC 1277 galaxy is one of the largest ever discovered. The black hole at the centre of NGC 1277 galaxy is one of the largest ever discovered. NASA /ESA/Andrew C. Fabian/Remco C. E. van den Bosch (MPIA)

‘Overmassive’ black hole holds the mass of 17 billion suns

Astronomers have discovered a new, enormous black hole that could change our understanding of how galaxies evolve. Holding the mass of 17 billion suns, the black hole at the centre of the NGC 1277 galaxy…
The James Webb Space Telescope will search for stars in the dawning universe. The James Webb Space Telescope will search for stars in the dawning universe. BOBXNC

Hubble, Webb and the search for First Light galaxies

When the Obama administration announced its proposed NASA budget in February, astronomers worldwide breathed a sigh of relief. Despite significant cuts in other areas, funding for the James Webb Space…
Most galaxies – including ours – host a hungry monster. Most galaxies – including ours – host a hungry monster. allthecolours

Black hole noms: planetary treats for the galactic monster

What do black holes eat? And do supermassive black holes have fiercer appetites? Let’s remind ourselves of the facts. Lurking at the centre of the Milky Way is a monster, a giant black hole with a mass…
Finding quasars will help us understand how galaxies were formed. Finding quasars will help us understand how galaxies were formed. NASA

Back to where we started: tracing the origins of galaxies

Today, the University of Melbourne’s Professor Stuart Wyithe was awarded the 2011 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year for his work on the origin of galaxies. The multi-award winning…
Viewed from afar, the Milky Way might appear similar to the galaxy known as NGC 7331. Viewed from afar, the Milky Way might appear similar to the galaxy known as NGC 7331. R. Jay GaBany/NASA

Explainer: a beginner’s guide to the galaxy

Where are we within our galaxy? How did our galaxy form? How did it evolve over the aeons? Astronomers have been asking these questions for the past century, and have recently begun discerning the answers…

Research and News (4)

Research Briefs (9)

Strings of galaxies found in voids

Galaxies arranged in delicate strings have been discovered in the huge, empty regions of the universe called voids. A research…

Dark matter core challenges theories

The collision of several, massive galaxy clusters has left behind a clump of dark matter, potentially challenging existing…

Stars run out of gas

Fewer stars are forming in the universe than ever before because the gas is starting to run out. Distant (and hence older…