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HERON Survey Fishes Out Detail in Ghostly Galaxy Outskirts

20 Oct 2019, 19:32 UTC
HERON Survey Fishes Out Detail in Ghostly Galaxy Outskirts
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Astronomers have completed the largest survey to date of the faint outskirts of nearby galaxies, successfully testing a low-cost system for exploring these local stellar systems. R. Michael Rich of the University of California, Los Angeles led an international team carrying out a survey for the Haloes and Environments of Nearby Galaxies (HERON) collaboration, published in a paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The team find that the diameters of the galactic outskirts - the haloes - appear to correlate with the brightness and type of galaxy.The outer regions of galaxies contain ancient stars ejected in collisions with other galaxies, as well as stars that were among the first to form in the galaxy's history. Understanding these regions helps trace the invisible dark matter structures enmeshed with the visible stars and gas that make up the most obvious component of a galaxy.For the survey the team used a dedicated relatively small 28-inch (0.7-m) telescope based near Frazier Park, California; 119 galaxies were observed in the study, a larger data set than any previous survey of this type. Images were acquired using a CCD chip (similar to that found in digital cameras), with each pixel on the chip ...

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