Three dozen dwarf galaxies located far away from each other manifested a so-called simultaneous “baby boom” of new stars, an exciting discovery that puts some question marks on the current theories regarding how galaxies expand, which may improve our knowledge about the universe.
Galaxies over one million light-years apart must have completely custom lives in terms of when new stars are born.
However, galaxies 13 million light-years away from each other decreased and then simultaneously sped up the birth rate of stars, a Rutgers-led study recently published in the Astrophysical Journal suggests.
Charlotte Olsen, the study’s lead author and doctoral student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, explained that it looks like the galaxies responded to greater-scale modifications in their environment in a comparable way to how a good economy results in a baby boom.
Eric Gawiser, the study’s co-author and professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy said:
“We found that regardless of whether these galaxies were next-door neighbors or not, they stopped and then started forming new stars at the same time, as if they’d all influenced each other through some extra-galactic social network.”
The concomitant decrease in the stellar birth race of the dwarf galaxies started six billion years ago, while the increase began 3 billion years ago. Thus, figuring out how galaxies expand and evolve implies untangling the numerous processes that impact them over their lifetimes.
Star formation is one of the most crucial processes. The stellar rate of birth can speed up when galaxies come in contact or interact.
However, galaxies can stop producing new stars if they run out of gas (mainly hydrogen).