Astronomers have studied the dead neighbor of the Milky Way


Astronomers of the Spanish University of La Laguna conducted a study of the relic galaxy NGC 1277, in which the process of formation of new stars ceased. Researchers report that this system has not changed in the past 10 billion years. On the details of the observations, scientists reported in a press release published by EurekAlert.

Originally, the galaxy was discovered in 1875 by the British astronomer Lawrence Parsons. But since then little has been known about it. Exploring the galaxy NGC 1277, located 220 million light years from Earth, the scientists helped the space telescope "Hubble". Astronomers have found out that the galaxy consists of old red stars, the number of which is twice the number of stars in the Milky Way. At the same time, NGC 1277 is almost half as large as our galaxy. As a rule, such relic galaxies are removed by billions of light years from the solar system.

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Researchers believe that at some point the relic system simply stopped collecting matter from the intergalactic medium, necessary for its transformation into an ordinary spiral galaxy, and eventually remained in the transition link of lenticular galaxies.


Around NGC 1277 there are many globular clusters consisting of red stars. According to the researchers, they influenced the original form of the galaxy. Usually at later stages of evolution, blue globular clusters should appear, indicating that the system begins to absorb or collide with other galaxies. As a result of the inflow of interstellar matter, new processes of star formation are launched. However, in NGC 1277, blue stars are almost completely absent.


The relic galaxy is located not far from the Perseus cluster, consisting of more than a thousand galaxies. NGC 1277 moves at a speed of about three million kilometers per hour, which is too fast for that, so it just does not have time to attract matter from other star systems.

It is also known that near the center of the galaxy is one of the most massive black holes in the universe. The scientists found that the interstellar gas in this region is too hot for condensation and the formation of new stars.

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