Breaking News Bar
updated: 8/15/2012 7:32 PM

Multiple births on cosmic scale in distant galaxy

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • This undated handout artist illustration provided by NASA shows a cosmic supermom. It's a galaxy that gives births to more stars in a day than ours does in a year.

      This undated handout artist illustration provided by NASA shows a cosmic supermom. It's a galaxy that gives births to more stars in a day than ours does in a year.
    Associated Press/NASA

 
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Scientists have found a cosmic supermom. It's a galaxy that gives births to more stars in a day than ours does in a year.

Astronomers used NASA's Chandra X-Ray telescope to spot this distant gigantic galaxy creating about 740 new stars a year. By comparison, our Milky Way galaxy spawns just about one new star each year.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

It's about 5.7 billion light years away in the center of a recently discovered cluster of galaxies that give the brightest X-ray glow astronomers have seen. It is by far the biggest creation of stars that astronomers have seen for this type of galaxy -- massive galaxies that are in the center of clusters. But other types of galaxies, such as colliding galaxies, can produce even more stars, astronomers said.

But this is the size, type and age of galaxy that shouldn't be producing stars at such a rapid pace, said the authors of a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

"It's very extreme," said Harvard University astronomer Ryan Foley, co-author of the study. "It pushes the boundaries of what we understand."

There's another strange thing about this galaxy. It's fairly mature, maybe 6 billion years old. Usually, this type "are kind of just there and don't do anything new... what we call red and dead," said study lead author Michael McDonald of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "It seems to have come back to life for some reason."

Because of that back-to-life situation, the team of 85 astronomers has nicknamed the galaxy cluster Phoenix, after the bird that rises from the ashes. The galaxy that is producing the stars at a rate of two per day is in the center of the cluster and is the biggest and most prominent of many galaxies there.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here