India’s AstroSat telescope helps observe formation of dwarf galaxy

New Delhi, IndiaEdited By: Srishti Singh SisodiaUpdated: Aug 02, 2022, 11:56 PM IST
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Image Credit: Ministry of Science & Technology, India. Photograph:(Others)

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The researchers found evidence of material moving from the outer edges of eleven dwarf galaxies inward toward the centre 

Researchers have observed part of the formation of a dwarf galaxy, a recent study stated. The observation will help explain how a galaxy evolves from a dwarf state to maturity. Scientists described finding evidence of maturation in such galaxies, in their published paper in the journal Nature. 

Astronomers and cosmologists have remained intrigued by the concept of dwarf galaxies, which are made up of a few billion stars at most. It is said that mature galaxies, such as the Milky Way, have 200 to 400 billion stars. 

Previously, some research suggested that some dwarf galaxies might evolve to become more mature galaxies, however, there wasn't enough concrete information about the process. 

Meanwhile, in a new effort, the researchers focused the AstroSat, which is India's first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory, on several blue compact dwarf galaxies. 

The dwarf galaxies being observed were said to be approximately 1.5 to 3.9 billion light-years from Earth. AstroSat has now witnessed star-forming complexes on the outskirts of a dwarf galaxy. 

The team then used the ultraviolet imaging telescope aboard AstroSat, which is India's first multi-wavelength space telescope, to look for evidence of star formation activity. 

As a result, the researchers found evidence of material moving from the outer edges of eleven dwarf galaxies inward toward the centre. The findings were generated after analysing 17 hours' worth of data from AstroSat. 

As quoted by The Weather Channel, Anshuman Borgohain, an astronomer from Tezpur University, Assam, said: Capturing the assembly process in dwarf galaxies is considered important because the diversity in their physical properties observed today challenge the current theoretical models of galaxy evolution." 

"AstroSat/UVIT has been a remarkable addition to the list of UV observatories to date and has opened up promising windows to probe the understanding of the galaxy assembly process," explained Borgohain, who is the lead author of the study. 

The study was conceived by Professor Kanak Saha at Pune's Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), with astronomers from India, the US and France. 

Prof Saha said as quoted by the website, "We are witnessing the ‘live’ formation of these far-way dwarf galaxies! AstroSat's resolving power, and deep field imaging techniques have been the key to spotting some very young, large star-forming clumps. These form on the periphery and then spiral into the visible (optical) boundary of their galaxy within a billion years timescale, thus adding to the growth of the galaxy." 


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