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Astronomers Model, Determine How Disk Galaxies Evolve So Smoothly

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 The blue star is scattered several times. The orange star is captured by the gravity of a clump and moves around it.

An illustration of how two sample star orbits are scattered from nearly circular orbits by the gravity of massive clumps within galaxies.

Researchers at Iowa State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center have developed computer models that demonstrate how massive clumps of interstellar gas scatter some stars from their orbits and create galaxy disks with bright centers that fade to dark edges.

The researchers found the formation of exponential disks is a universal process that applies to all kinds of galaxies, not just young galaxies.

Their latest models show how the orbits of stars are altered by gravitational impulses from massive clumps of gas.

The new stellar distribution is reflected in the exponential brightness profile.

The researchers also found that the speed of the evolution of the brightness, but not the final smoothness, is affected by the types of clumps and initial densities of the disks.

From Iowa State University News Service
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Abstracts Copyright © 2020 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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