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
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.
- When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
- Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
- Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
The Harvard psychologist loves reading authors' rules for writing. Here are his own.
- Steven Pinker is many things: linguist, psychologist, optimist, Harvard professor, and author.
- When it comes to writing, he's a student and a teacher.
- Here's are his 13 rules for writing better, more simply, and more clearly.
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.