Wasteful galaxies are flinging their own matter, generated within by star formation, out into space millions of light years away, leaving them without the raw materials needed to create more stars, planets, and sustain life.
This celestial scolding is included in a study posted in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, noted a University of Colorado news release
on the role played by its researchers who said the wasteful galaxies were ejecting oxygen, carbon, and iron atoms to outer gaseous halos, leaving less of those raw materials behind.
"Previously, we thought that these heavier elements would be recycled in to future generations of stars and contribute to forming planetary systems and providing the building blocks of life," said Benjamin Oppenheimer, with the Center for Astrophysics & Space Astronomy at the university. "As it turns out, galaxies aren't very good at recycling."
Typical galaxies range in size from 30,000 to 100,000 light years while the near-invisible reservoir of gas that encompasses a galaxy, known as the circumgalactic medium, can span up to a million light years.
According to NASA
, galaxies often collide and that affects their shape. Because of its young halo, astronomers believe, the Andromeda galaxy – our Milky Way's closest neighbor galaxy – has probably already collided with at least one or maybe two other galaxies.
The Milky Way galaxy has billions of stars and still enough gas and dust to make billions more stars, noted NASA. Spiral galaxies like the Milky Way actively form stars and have a blueish color while elliptical galaxies have little star formation and appear red.
The researchers have been using data from the Cosmic Origin Spectrograph, which is installed on Hubble Space Telescope, to study the evolution of the universe.
"The remarkable similarity of the galaxies in our simulations to those targeted by the COS team enables us to interpret the observations with greater confidence," said Robert Crain, a Royal Society University research fellow at Liverpool John Moores University and a co-author of the study.
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