Following are some of the scientific developments that are giving us a new, more detailed, and more accurate picture of the galaxies that comprise the Cosmos. Visitors are encouraged to discuss the scientific reports in the context of their religious views (or lack of such views).
"the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy collided with the Milky Way, creating the galaxy's spiral arms, its central bar structure and the flaring at its outer disk. Along the way, the dwarf galaxy's stars were scattered and the galaxy shrunk to an object that's so small and unimpressive it's hard to see."
Observations of large distances in the universe are based on measurements of the redshift, which is a phenomenon where the wavelength of the light from distant galaxies is shifted more and more towards the red with greater distance. The redshift indicates how much the universe has expanded from when the light left until it was measured on Earth. Furthermore, according to Einstein's general theory of relativity, the light and thus the redshift is also affected by the gravity from large masses like galaxy clusters and causes a gravitational redshift of the light. But the gravitational influence on light has never before been measured on a cosmological scale.
The astronomers used a worldwide network of radio telescopes in five countries, including Sweden, to be able to create extremely sharp images of the galaxy Arp 220. The scientists observed around 40 radio sources in the center of the galaxy Arp 220. These radio sources are hidden behind thick layers of dust and gas and invisible in ordinary telescopes. To discover the nature of these radio sources, they made measurements at different radio wavelengths and watched how they changed over several years.
The galaxies are churning out stars at such a rate that the number of stars in them would double in just ten million years. For comparison, the Milky Way has taken a thousand times longer to double its stellar population. These newly discovered dwarf galaxies are around a hundred times smaller than the Milky Way. Their star formation rates are extremely high, even for the young Universe, when most galaxies were forming stars at higher rates than they are today. They have turned up in the Hubble images because the radiation from young, hot stars has caused the oxygen in the gas surrounding them to light up like a fluorescent sign.
One of the most intriguing developments in astronomy over the last few decades is the realization that not only do most galaxies contain central black holes of gigantic size, but also that the mass of these central black holes are directly related to the mass of their host galaxies. This correlation is predicted by the current standard model of galaxy evolution, the so-called hierarchical model, as astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy have recently shown.
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