India’s AstroSat Telescope Helps Observe the Formation of Dwarf Galaxies, Here’s the Result

Dwarf galaxy from India’s AstroSat Telescope (Photo: Ministry of Science & Technology, India)

JAKARTA, Recently researchers have been observing a part of the formation of dwarf galaxies. Observations will help explain how a galaxy evolves from a dwarf state to an adult.

The scientists describe finding evidence of maturation in such galaxies, in their paper published in the journal Nature. Astronomers and cosmologists remain intrigued by the concept galaxy dwarfs, most of which are made up of several billion stars.

It is said that mature galaxies, such as the Milky Way, have 200 to 400 billion stars.

Previously, several studies had suggested that some dwarf galaxies might evolve into more mature galaxies, however, there is not enough concrete information about the process.

Meanwhile, in a new effort, the researchers focused AstroSat, India’s first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory, on several blue compact dwarf galaxies. The observed dwarf galaxy is said to be about 1.5 to 3.9 billion light years from Earth.

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AstroSat has now seen star-forming complexes on the outskirts of a dwarf galaxy. The team then used an ultraviolet imaging telescope aboard AstroSat, which is India’s first multi-wavelength space telescope, to look for evidence of star-forming activity.

As a result, the researchers found evidence of matter moving from the outer edges of eleven dwarf galaxies inward toward the center. The findings came after analyzing 17 hours of data from AstroSat.

As quoted by The Weather Channel, Anshuman Borgohain, an astronomer from Tezpur University, Assam, said: “Capturing the assembly process in dwarf galaxies is considered important because the diversity of their observed physical properties currently challenges current theoretical models of galaxy evolution.”

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“AstroSat/UVIT has been a remarkable addition to the list of UV observatories to date and has opened a promising window for investigating the understanding of galaxy assembly processes,” explains Borgohain, who is the lead author of the study.

The study was compiled by Professor Kanak Saha at Pune’s Inter-University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), with astronomers from India, the US and France.

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Prof Saha was quoted as saying by the website, “We witnessed the ‘live’ formation of this distant dwarf galaxy! AstroSat’s resolving power, and deep-field imaging techniques have been key to finding some very young and large star-forming clumps.

These form on the periphery and then rotate to their visible galactic (optical) boundaries on a time scale of one billion years, thus adding to the galaxy’s growth.”

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