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Some Galaxies Die Young… Others Recycle

19 Nov 2011, 10:35 UTC
Some Galaxies Die Young… Others Recycle
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It sounds like an over-hyped public service announcement: If you don’t recycle, you’ll die a premature death. But in the case of galaxies, according to three new Science papers based on Hubble Space Telescope data, this is a reality. Should a galaxy “go green,” reusing waste stellar gas contained within huge halos situated outside their [...]

Some galaxies undergo a rapid star formation phase, losing stellar gases to intergalactic space, others choose to recycle, thereby extending their star forming lifespans (NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI))
It sounds like an over-hyped public service announcement: If you don’t recycle, you’ll die a premature death.
But in the case of galaxies, according to three new Science papers based on Hubble Space Telescope data, this is a reality. Should a galaxy “go green,” reusing waste stellar gas contained within huge halos situated outside their visible disks, they will fuel future star-birth cycles, prolonging their lifespans.
Sadly for “starburst” galaxies — galaxies that undergo rapid star generation over very short time periods — they care little for recycling, resulting in an untimely death.
Using data from Hubble’s Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS), three teams studied 40 galaxies (including the Milky Way) and discovered vast ...

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