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Spin Doctors: Astrophysicists Find When Galaxies Rotate, Size Matters

20 Nov 2019, 22:36 UTC
Spin Doctors: Astrophysicists Find When Galaxies Rotate, Size Matters
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The direction in which a galaxy spins depends on its mass, researchers have found. A team of astrophysicists analysed 1418 galaxies and found that small ones are likely to spin on a different axis to large ones. The rotation was measured in relation to each galaxy's closest "cosmic filament" - the largest structures in the universe.Filaments are massive thread-like formations, comprising huge amounts of matter - including galaxies, gas and, modelling implies, dark matter. They can be 500 million light years long but just 20 million light years wide. At their largest scale, the filaments divide the universe into a vast gravitationally linked lattice interspersed with enormous dark matter voids."It's worth noticing that the spine of cosmic filaments is pretty much the highway of galactic migration, with many galaxies encountering and merging along the way," says lead researcher Charlotte Welker, an ASTRO 3D researcher working initially at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) and now at McMaster University in Canada.ASTRO 3D is the ARC Centre of Excellence in All Sky Astrophysics, based in Australia.The filaments are why the universe looks a little like a honeycomb, or a cosmic Aero chocolate bar.Using data gathered by an instrument called the ...

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