Scientists Watch as Black Holes Destroy Galaxies
For the first time ever, scientists have watched two spiral galaxies collide, demonstrating how elliptical galaxies form and how black holes can rapidly drain their star-making potential.
What's the Latest Development?
For the first time ever, astronomers have observed how the colliding of two spiral galaxies quickly extinguishes both their star-making powers. By focusing a suite of telescopes on galaxy NGC 3801, an elliptical galaxy which resulted from the recent collision of two spiral galaxies, scientists were able to watch the early results of the cosmic shakeup. They observed that the supermassive black holes, lurking at the center of each galaxy, began consuming nearby star-making clouds of gaseous elements, rapidly aging both spiral galaxies by preventing new stars from forming.
What's the Big Idea?
Our Milky Way is one such spiral galaxy and it is on a collision course with its neighboring galaxy Andromeda, sitting a relatively short distance of 2 million light years away. Thanks to the gravitational attraction between their outward spiral arms, astronomers estimate that they will begin to collide in about 3 billion years. "When that happens, observers on Earth will be able to watch from within the very thick of things as two youthful galaxies merge and grow suddenly old." Of course, it would surprise us if there were still observers around to see the event.
Photo credit: shutterstock.com
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
We know the dangers of too little sleep. Now for the other side of the story.
- Western University researchers found that sleeping over eight hours per night results in cognitive decline.
- Oversleepers suffer similar difficulties on certain cognitive tests as those who sleep under seven hours.
- Not all the news is bad: One night of oversleeping results in a cognitive boost.
Firefighters in California are still struggling to contain several wildfires nearly one week after they broke out.
- Hundreds of people are still missing after three wildfires spread across Northern and Southern California last week.
- 48 of the 50 deaths occurred after the Camp Fire blazed through the town of Paradise, north of Sacramento.
- On Tuesday night, a fourth wildfire broke out, though it's mostly contained.
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