The new images do not focus on stars, but on the interstellar medium – clouds of dust and gas. But the pictures are no less impressive.
In the images of galaxies, attention is always paid to the stars, the brightest of which show all the incredible structure of these cosmic objects. But in galaxies there are two most important components – interstellar gas and dust. Stars are born from clouds of gas and dust, and again turn into these interstellar components after their death. New images of the four closest galaxies to the Milky Way aim to show the distribution of cosmic dust in these objects, according to ScienceAlert.
NASA has released new images of galaxies that look very different from regular images of bright stars. These are the 4 closest galaxies to the Milky Way:
- The Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy approximately 160,000 light-years away;
- The Small Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy approximately 200,000 years from Earth;
- The Andromeda Galaxy, a large spiral galaxy that is 2.5 million light-years away;
- The Triangulum Galaxy, a spiral galaxy that is 2.7 million light-years away.
Without dust and gas, galaxies would not exist at all. New stars are born from molecular gas clouds, and after death they dump their matter into the surrounding space. And out of this stuff, new stars are born again. But dust in galaxies is unevenly distributed, it can take on different shapes and structures, and understanding these phenomena is the key to understanding the nature of galaxy formation.
New images provide scientists with information about the complex processes that take place inside the interstellar medium.
- The most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen gas is shown in red in the new images. As you can see from the images of galaxies, there really is a lot of hydrogen there.
- Green represents the areas of space where cold dust is located. This dust surrounds voids in the interstellar medium, where there is little to no dust, having been pushed out by newborn stars with their stellar winds.
- Regions with hotter dust heated by nearby stars are shown in blue.
We remind you that scientists have discovered a dead cannibal star that devours its planets in an unusual way. This white dwarf “eats” not only the matter that is near the star, but also more distant objects.