Researchers are studying galaxies to better understand the evolution and history of the whole Universe. Some seem especially attractive due to stellar activity. What did the new Cigar galaxy tell?
M81 (left) and M82 (right) displayed in visible light
The Cigar Galaxy (M82) is 12 million light-years distant from us and lives on the territory of the Big Dipper constellation. Refers to the spiral type with the presence of hoses and jumpers. A supermassive black hole is hiding in the center, and in 2014 the instruments recorded a supernova explosion.
The name received due to the elongated shape, which for the earthly observer resembles a cigar. In the core lies a rich family of globular clusters, and the galaxy itself can boast an active process of the birth of new stars. The highest-quality photographs were obtained thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Chandra Observatory showed X-ray sources.
Study of the wind
A combined image of the active galaxy M82, created by X-ray Chandra observations in three energy bands (red, green, and blue).
It is important to understand that the speed of star birth in M82 exceeds the indicators of the Milky Way 10 times. Due to the rapid formation of a star, huge volumes of gas and dust are ejected, which are transformed into a powerful galactic wind, pushed by a large stream into space.
NASA representatives decided to measure this wind. They wanted to understand how dust and gas (components for the emergence of new stellar objects) are beyond the limits of the Cigar (intergalactic space) and what effect they have on the creation of new galaxies. Infrared telescope allowed to determine the amount of dust. It turned out that the wind weighs 50-60 million solar masses.
Value for Galactic Evolution
Messier 82, displayed by the Chandra Observatory (X-rays blue), Spitzer telescope (infrared red) and Hubble (hydrogen emissions orange). The visible light is yellow-green. These are unexpectedly huge volumes of gas and dust. It also turned out that the wind manages to push out the magnetic field of the Cigar galaxy in such a way that it is perpendicular to the disk. Moreover, this magnetic field stretched over 2,000 light years, which equates to the width of the wind covered.
Scientists for the first time were able to prove that the wind is capable of playing a key role in stretching the magnetic field of a galaxy, as well as in the process of actively ejecting stellar materials into intergalactic space.
NASA researchers plan to develop this topic further, having studied the Cigar galaxy deeper. It is important that the galactic wind can be the mechanism that allows you to distribute important elements for stellar birth and thereby activate the emergence or development of other galaxies in less populated or undeveloped areas of outer space. In addition, it allows you to better understand how galaxies appeared at the very beginning of universal history.