For the first time in human history, scientists have managed to reconstruct the history of galaxy formation. Using observations from no less than 10.000 galaxies surveyed by Herschel ATLAS and GAMA project, scientists have illustrated galaxies changing their structure throughout their lifetime.
The metamorphosis phase has been completely reconstructed by a team of scientists who have embarked on a mission to study the whole process of delivering a new born galaxy. According to Cornell University, there are two theories prevailing when it comes to the way galaxies are shaped. Some experts believe that galaxies are formed from clouds which had a significant spin. As spinning processes increase, the material flattens and it forms the disk characteristic of spiral galaxies. The other type of extra-celestial bodies result from clouds without spin.
There is also another theory which states that elliptical galaxies are shaped by collisions of spiral galaxies, according to the Cornell University experts.
It seems that researchers have found that 83% of the entire amount of stars formed since the Big Bang were initially located in the disk-shaped galaxies. Today, only 49% of stars call a disk-shaped galaxy home, while all the rest remain spherical-shaped galaxies.
The team has observed around 10.000 galaxies currently present in the universe. The results suggest an enormous transformation in which disc-shaped galaxies became over-shaped structures. By providing the first evidence of the extent of this transformation, researchers have hoped to shed light on the very processes that caused all the changes in structure.
This revolutionary study is extremely important as it helps scientists gain all the understanding needed in order to reveal the properties and appearance of the universe as we can see it and perceive it today.
Over time, disc-shaped galaxies become oval-shaped galaxies and it is highly possible that two disk-dominated galaxies may stray very close to each other and merge into a single structure which creates an oval-shaped galaxy. On the other hand, it is highly possible that the process of transformation is more gentle and stars formed in a disk gradually move to the center of it and create a central pile-up of stars.
“Up until now, we’ve seen individual cases in the local universe where galaxy collisions convert spirals into ellipticals,” said co-author David Clements, of Imperial College London. “This study shows that this kind of transformation is not exceptional, but is part of the normal history of galaxy evolution.”
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