Galactic Morning: Andromeda XII, M81, and a Pushy Void

Galactic Morning: Andromeda XII, M81, and a Pushy Void

m81.jpgThis mornings first press conference spanned the scales of the Universe. From a high speed dwarf galaxy only 1/20,000 times the size of our galaxy, to a new picture of M81 (a nearby spiral galaxy – image shown), to information on how a lack of gravitational pull is causing the local group to wander away a local void, the scientists took us on a wild ride through the universe.

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It is all a Function of Mass

It is all a Function of Mass

2002-22-b-web.jpgThroughout math and physics certain trends occur over and over. The unique numbers of pi and phi (the golden ratio) respectively define circles and spirals. The mathematical forms of the equations for gravitational force and electric force are the same, and the physical forms of fractals get bigger without changing shape. Now, a pair of astronomers, Bruno Binggeli and Tatjana Hascher of the University of Basel, are searching for a universal mass function that describes the ratios of little stars to big stars as well as the ratios of groups of galaxies to clusters of galaxies. According to a review paper accepted for publication in the PASP “the mass functions of individual object classes, when properly normalized, can indeed be concatenated to build a surprisingly continuous mass function of the universe.” From 100-meter-size asteroids (10^-20 Solar masses), to the most massive of galaxy clusters (10^16 solar masses), and across 36 orders of magnitude in mass, they find (roughly) the same relationship. Put simply, the same mathematical form, an inverse square function, describes how there are more red dwarf stars than blue super giants, and why there are more galaxy groups, like Seygert’s Sextet, than galaxy superclusters like Virgo.

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When Galaxies interact, it’s Not all Fun and Games

When Galaxies interact, it’s Not all Fun and Games

qqqcol3icon2.jpgToday’s round of press conference started with the story of three systems that have mutually triggered fireworks in one another’s cores. Specifically, a gravitationally bound system of three quasars has been located at a distance of roughly 10.4 billion light years (z = 2.076). This is the first such triple quasar system that has been located.

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