January 11, 2012


Tania Burchell, Science Writer
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
+1 434 244 6812

ALMA Early Science Result Reveals Starving Galaxies

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Selected images from among the twenty-three quasars observed with ALMA so far in its hunt for candidate starving galaxies. Only eleven of the quasars were detected, and the other twelve were barely visible above the background noise, which for ALMA means very little evidence for dust warmed by star-forming regions. Without this signature of star formation, these galaxies can be said to be suffering a loss of gas likely from their active central black holes' jets.

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Artist's model of the quasar inside of a young, active galaxy. The enormous jets erupt from the accretion disk and plow through the galaxy, easily forcing out its potential star-forming gas.
Credit: B. Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF

Click on image for the suite of animations.

This suite of animations from astronomer Philip Hopkins shows model of how two galaxies merge, eventually losing their gases to the powerful jets erupting from their coalescing supermassive black holes.
Credit: P. Hopkins, CfA

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Infographic showing the sequence of events that model a typical galaxy becoming a so-called "red and dead" elliptical. Lonsdale and her team found a large population of galaxies, right in the middle of this sequence, between steps d and e.
Credit:From Hopkins, et al., The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 175:356Y389, 2008 April. Original credit: (a) NOAO/AURA/NSF; (b) REU program/NOAO/AURA/NSF; (c) NASA/STScI /ACS Science Team; (d) optical (left):NASA/STScI/R. P. van derMarel & J.Gerssen; X-ray (right):NASA/CXC/MPE/S. Komossa et al.; (e) left: J. Bahcall /M. Disney/NASA; right: Gemini Observatory/NSF/University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy; ( f ) J. Bahcall /M. Disney/ NASA; (g) F. Schweizer (CIW/DTM); (h) NOAO/AURA/NSF.

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The Southern Cross, the Milky Way, and the Large Magellanic Cloud shine above the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) as it observes on a clear night sky during its Early Science phase. At a record-breaking elevation of 16,500 feet in northern Chile, ALMA will be an array of 66 radio telescopes spread over 100 square kilometers when it is completed in 2013.
Credit: C. Padilla, NRAO/AUI/NSF