Galaxies

Category archives for Galaxies

“You may hate gravity, but gravity doesn’t care.” –Clayton Christensen If all we had were galactic rotation curves — like those measured by Vera Rubin — we would know that something was wrong with our picture of the Universe, but we wouldn’t know how. Two equally good explanations, that there was either a flaw in…

“Science progresses best when observations force us to alter our preconceptions.” -Vera Rubin When you look at a galaxy in the night sky, it’s easy to imagine that it’s just a system of masses like our Solar System, except on a larger scale. Instead of a single, central mass, you have many stars responsible for…

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” -Edgar Allan Poe No matter where you look in the night sky, a powerful enough telescope appears to reveal points of light. Even if you find a region with no stars in the Milky…

“I’ll never, ever be full. I’ll always be hungry. Obviously, I’m not talking about food.” -Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Only a very small percentage of galaxies have active supermassive black holes. While the black holes themselves are common, they only rarely feed, gaining a huge influx of matter to accelerate and send jets and other…

“The evidence at present available points strongly to the conclusion that the spirals are individual galaxies, or island universes, comparable with our own galaxy in dimension and in number of component units.” -Heber Curtis, 1920 In many different areas of life, we settle disagreements by popular vote. But in science, we know better; regardless of…

“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.” -Francis Bacon If you had previously thought the Universe contained a certain amount of stuff, like stars, galaxies and matter, then you might think that learning it had ten times as many galaxies might mean it had ten times as much…

“Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save…

“They most likely form as subsystems within looser associations and evolve by gravitational processes. Strong galaxy interactions result and merging is expected to lead to the ultimate demise of the group. Compact groups are surprisingly numerous, and may play a significant role in galaxy evolution.” -Paul Hickson With hundreds of billions of galaxies in an…

“Nothing in the standard cosmological model predicts this, and it is almost impossible to imagine how that model could be modified to explain it, without discarding the dark matter hypothesis completely.” -David Merritt Dark matter is a hugely successful theory for explaining a whole slew of observations about the Universe. Just by adding this one ingredient…

“We conducted the first fully blind, three-dimensional search for cool gas in the early universe. Through this, we discovered a population of galaxies that is not clearly evident in any other deep surveys of the sky.” -Chris Carilli The Hubble Ultra Deep Field and its successor images represent humanity’s deepest views of the stars in…