According to Hubble Space telescope’s latest captures of the Milky Way’s neighboring Andromeda galaxy, it is fully surrounded by a halo of massive gas. With clear skies, anyone will be able to see an area covered with light but not with naked eyes. You have to make use binoculars to see the well star-packed central bulge.
However, according to Nicolas Lehner and colleagues, there is much more that cannot be seen. The team explains that there is a halo of gas adjoining Andromeda. It is expected that the gas will provide critical leads into the evolution of Andromeda and the Milky Way which are some of the giant spiral galaxies.
The mass of the halo’s gas has a relative comparison to the mass you will find in all the stars within the galaxy. This is the same gas that has helped maintain a robust reproduction of stars in the galaxy.
Meanwhile, all is not well even after the discovery of the halo gas that is described as the raw material for all new starts. There is a close likelihood that the Andromeda is closing down. There is no explanation as yet for the cause of this even from Dr. Lehner, an astronomer, and also the lead author.
However, researchers were able to define how the gas and Andromeda are gravitationally bound to each other. They were discouraged by the Andromeda halo’s distance of nearly 121,000 light-years.
As it is now, there is a lot to learn from the star formation as a result of the halo gas. There are also many open issues regarding the regulation of the star-formation process. This is according to Dr. Lehner.
“As the light from the quasars travels toward Hubble, the halo’s gas will absorb some of that light and make the quasar appear a little darker in just a very small wavelength range,” explains co-investigator J. Christopher Howk, also of Notre Dame. “By measuring the dip in brightness in that range, we can tell how much halo gas from M31 there is between us and that quasar.”
Old and dead ellipticals star-forming galaxies have since been found with a lot of cold gas around them. Their presentation is entirely different from those within the spiral galaxies.
Astronomers will now be able to observe the halo workings within a galaxy, and with the data points collected there is an opportunity of making additional observations. However, Dr. Lehner and his team are still analyzing the mystery behind galactic gas halos and the process of star formation.