Our Sun Came Late to the Milky Way's Star-Birth PartyLearn MoreApril 9, 2015 • Feature
Our Sun missed the stellar "baby boom" that erupted in our young Milky Way galaxy 10 billion years ago. During that time the Milky Way was churning out stars 30 times faster than it does today. Our galaxy was ablaze with a firestorm of star birth as its rich reservoir of hydrogen gas compressed under gravity, creating myriad stars. But our Sun was not one of them. It was a late "boomer," arising 5 billion years later, when star birth had plunged to a trickle.
Slow-Growing Galaxies Offer Window to Early UniverseLearn MoreMarch 31, 2015 • News Feature
One telescope finds the treasure chest, and the other narrows in on the gold coins. Data from two European Space Telescope missions, Planck and Herschel, have together identified some of the oldest and rarest clusters of galaxies in the distant cosmos. Planck's all-sky images revealed the clumps of bright galaxies, while Herschel data allowed researchers to inspect the galactic gems more closely and confirm the discovery.
Suzaku, Herschel Link a Black Hole 'Wind' to a Galactic Gush of Star-forming GasLearn MoreMarch 25, 2015 • News Release
By combining observations from the Japan-led Suzaku X-ray satellite and the European Space Agency's infrared Herschel Space Observatory, scientists have connected a fierce "wind" produced near a galaxy's monster black hole to an outward torrent of cold gas a thousand light-years across. The finding validates a long-suspected feedback mechanism enabling a supermassive black hole to influence the evolution of its host galaxy.
Herschel’s view of the early Universe reveals galaxy cluster fireworksLearn MoreDecember 18, 2014 • News Release
Astronomers using ESA’s Herschel space observatory have found, for the first time, fireworks of star birth within galaxies at the dense core of a massive early Universe galaxy cluster. This frenzy of star formation reveals the young lives of now “red and dead” elliptical galaxies and gives new clues to the evolution of some of the largest structures in the Universe.
Warm Gas Pours 'Cold Water' on Galaxy's Star-MakingLearn MoreDecember 5, 2014 • News Feature
Some like it hot, but for creating new stars, a cool cosmic environment is ideal. As a new study suggests, a surge of warm gas into a nearby galaxy -- left over from the devouring of a separate galaxy -- has extinguished star formation by agitating the available chilled gas.