Researchers detect cold gas pipelines feeding early and massive galaxies

Researchers detect cold gas pipelines feeding early and massive galaxies

IMAGE: Researchers led by the University of Iowa produced direct observational evidence that massive galaxies in the early universe were fueled by cold gas pipelines that survived despite a warmer environment … see more

Credit: Hai Fu, University of Iowa

To be born, galaxies need a steady regimen of cold gases to undergo gravitational collapse. The larger the galaxy, the more cold gas it needs to merge and expand.

The massive galaxies found in the early universe needed a lot of cold gas – a supply totaling up to 100 billion times the mass of our sun.

But where did these first very large galaxies get so much cold gas when surrounded by a warmer environment?

In a new study, astronomers led by the University of Iowa report direct observational evidence of cold gas currents that they say fueled these first massive galaxies. They detected cold gas pipelines passing through the warm atmosphere in the dark matter halo of a massive early galaxy, supplying the materials the galaxy needed to form stars.

About two decades ago, physicists working with simulations hypothesized that during the beginning of the universe, cosmic …

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