HEAPOW: The Dense Dwarf (2013 Oct 14)

Find out the latest thinking about our universe.
User avatar
Apathetic Retiree
Posts: 19784
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 2:06 pm
Location: Oklahoma

HEAPOW: The Dense Dwarf (2013 Oct 14)

Post by bystander » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:40 pm

Image HEAPOW: The Dense Dwarf (2013 Oct 14)

Astronomers have identified what they believe is the densest galaxy in the known Universe. It's known as M60-UCD1, and is shown above in a composite X-ray image (from the Chandra X-ray Observatory) and an optical image (from the Hubble Space Telescope). M60-UCD1 has a mass equivalent to 200 million solar-type stars, comparable to the mass of our own Milky Way galaxy, but about half of this mass is found within a radius of only about 80 light years. This means that the density of stars in M60-UCD1 is about 15,000 times greater than the density in the Sun's neighborhood, so that stars in M60-UCD1 are about 25 times closer on average than they are in the solar neighborhood. Imagine the impressive spectacle of the night sky, flush with stars, seen by a denizen of a planet in M60-UCD1. Astronomers are trying to unravel the puzzle of the origin of M60-UCD1: did it happen to be born with this exceptionally high stellar density, or did some cataclysmic galactic collision play a role? It's even possible that galactic collisions may have stripped stars from M60-UCD1, meaning that in the distant past this dwarf could have been even more massive.

CXC: M60-UCD1: Evidence for Densest Nearby Galaxy
<< Previous HEAPOW High Energy Astrophysics Picture of the Week Next HEAPOW >>
Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
alive to the gentle breeze of communication, and please stop being such a jerk.
— Garrison Keillor

User avatar
Vacationer at Tralfamadore
Posts: 17050
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:57 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Re: HEAPOW: The Dense Dwarf (2013 Oct 14)

Post by neufer » Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:15 pm

Art Neuendorffer