Featured Image: How Gas Affects the Structure of Galaxies


These beautiful images (click for the full view) from a simulation of a Milky-Way-sized, isolated disk galaxy capture how the presence of gas affects a galaxy’s formation and evolution over time. The simulations, run by a team of scientists led by Woo-Young Seo (Seoul National University and Chungbuk National University, Republic of Korea), demonstrate that the amount of gas present in a forming galaxy influences the formation of features like spiral structure, a central bar, and even a nuclear ring — a site of intense star formation that encircles the very center of the galaxy. The images above (sized at 20 x 20 kpc) and below (same simulation, but zoomed to the central 2 x 2 kpc region) follow a warm galaxy model with a 5% gas fraction over the span of 5 billion years. For more information about the authors’ discoveries — and more gorgeous images of simulated, evolving galaxies — check out the article linked below.

galaxy gas simulations zoom


“Effects of Gas on Formation and Evolution of Stellar Bars and Nuclear Rings in Disk Galaxies,” Woo-Young Seo et al 2019 ApJ 872 5. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aafc5f

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