ESO: ALMA & VLT Find Too Many Massive Stars in Starburst Galaxies

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ESO: ALMA & VLT Find Too Many Massive Stars in Starburst Galaxies

Post by bystander » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:50 pm

ESO: ALMA and VLT Find Too Many Massive Stars in Starburst Galaxies
ALMA | ESO | NRAO | NAOJ | 2018 Jun 04

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Artist’s impression of distant starburst galaxy - Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser
Astronomers using ALMA and the VLT have discovered that both starburst galaxies in the early Universe and a star-forming region in a nearby galaxy contain a much higher proportion of massive stars than is found in more peaceful galaxies. These findings challenge current ideas about how galaxies evolved, changing our understanding of cosmic star-formation history and the build up of chemical elements.

Probing the distant Universe a team of scientists, led by University of Edinburgh astronomer Zhi-Yu Zhang, used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to investigate the proportion of massive stars in four distant gas-rich starburst galaxies [1]. These galaxies are seen when the Universe was much younger than it is now so the infant galaxies are unlikely to have undergone many previous episodes of star formation, which might otherwise have confused the results.

Zhang and his team developed a new technique — analogous to radiocarbon dating (also known as carbon-14 dating) — to measure the abundances of different types of carbon monoxide in four very distant, dust-shrouded starburst galaxies [2]. They observed the ratio of two types of carbon monoxide containing different isotopes [3]. ...

Stellar populations dominated by massive stars in dusty starburst galaxies across cosmic time - Zhi-Yu Zhang et al An excess of massive stars in the local 30 Doradus starburst - F. R. N. Schneider et al
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