Starburst Surprise: Star Birthing in Violent Galaxy Mergers

When two galaxies collide, the mingling interstellar gases are violently turbulent. Turbulence should switch off any star formation, but galactic mergers are known to be fertile grounds for stellar birthing -- what's going on? Continue reading →

May 12, 2014
12:09 PM EDT
A frame from the simulation of the two colliding ‘Antennae' galaxies. Here the galaxies are re-shaped after their first encounter. High resolution allows the astrophysicists to explore the smallest details. Stars are formed in the densest regions (yellow and red) under the effect of compressive turbulence. Star formation is more efficient here than in normal galaxies like our Milky Way. | Credit: F. Renaud/CEA-Sap