Astronomers witness slow death of nearby galaxy


IMAGE: This is CSIRO’s effective Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope.
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Credit: CSIRO

Astronomers from The Australian National University (ANU) and CSIRO have actually seen, in the finest information ever, the slow death of a neighbouring dwarf galaxy, which is slowly losing its power to form stars.

The brand-new peer-reviewed research study of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), which is a small portion of the size and mass of the Milky Way galaxy, utilizes images taken with CSIRO’s effective Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope.

Lead scientist Professor Naomi McClure-Griffiths from ANU stated the functions of the radio images were more than 3 times finer than previous SMC images, which enabled the group to penetrate the interactions in between the little galaxy and its environment with more precision.

“We were able to observe a powerful outflow of hydrogen gas from the Small Magellanic Cloud,” stated Professor McClure-Griffiths from the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at ANU.

“The implication is the galaxy may eventually stop being able to form new stars if it loses all of its gas. Galaxies that stop forming stars gradually fade away into oblivion. It’s sort of a slow death for a galaxy if it loses all of its gas.”

Professor McClure-Griffiths stated the discovery, which is part of a task that examines the development of galaxies, offered the very first clear observational measurement of the quantity of mass lost from a dwarfgalaxy


“The result is also important because it provides a possible source of gas for the enormous Magellanic Stream that encircles the Milky Way,” she stated.

“Ultimately, the Small Magellanic Cloud is likely to eventually be gobbled up by our Milky Way.”

CSIRO co-researcher Dr David McConnell stated ASKAP was unique on the planet for this kind of research study due to its distinct radio receivers that offer it a scenic view of the sky.

“The telescope covered the entire SMC galaxy in a single shot and photographed its hydrogen gas with unprecedented detail,” he stated.

Hydrogen is the most plentiful aspect in the Universe, and is the primary component of stars.

“ASKAP will go on to make state-of-the-art pictures of hydrogen gas in our own Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds, providing a full understanding of how this dwarf system is merging with our own galaxy and what this teaches us about the evolution of other galaxies,”Dr McConnell stated.


The research study is released in NatureAstronomy

The ARC Centre of Excellence in All Sky Astrophysics (ASTRO 3D) at ANU supports some of the scientists who were part of this research study.

Journalists who wishes to supply a link to the paper can utilize the following link (will go live when the embargo raises): .


* The SMC radio images can be downloaded through this link: . .

Please credit Naomi McClure-Griffiths et al, CSIRO’s ASKAP telescope.

ASKAP image gallery: (please credit CSIRO).

ASKAP b-roll video: (please credit CSIRO)


ProfessorNaomi McClure-Griffiths .

ResearchSchool of Astronomy and Astrophysics .

ANU College of Science .

M: +61413 299 077 .

E: [email protected]

For media help contact:

WillWright on +61 2 6100 3486, the ANU media hotline on +6126125 7979 or email the ANU Media Team at [email protected] .
AnnabelleYoung, ASKAP and SKA Information Officer at CSIRO, at [email protected] or on +61 2 9372 4270 or +61403 928 102 .

Disclaimer: We can make errors too. Have a good day.

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