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Questions tagged [galaxies]

Galaxies are gravitationally bound systems of stars, interstellar gas and dark matter, often hosting a central supermassive black hole. For questions about the structure, composition, dynamics, classification, etc. of galaxies. This includes small systems of interacting galaxies (i.e. merger, or galaxy + satellite system), but for galaxy groups and clusters use [galaxy-clusters], and for questions specific to our own Milky Way galaxy use [milky-way].

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Are we capable of discovering planets in the Andromeda galaxy?

I just watched this SpaceRip video on YouTube which shows pictures taken by Hubble while looking into the disk of the Andromeda galaxy to study a certain type of variable star. It occurred to me that ...
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What's dark matter and who discovered it?

I have heard about dark matter that's called the Master Of The Universe. What's this and is the dark matter the reason galaxies exist?
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How does dark matter halo outside a galaxy help to explain galaxy rotation curve?

How does a dark matter halo outside a galaxy help to explain a galaxy rotation curve? Suppose for simplicity we use a model of a star rotating about a more massive star in a fixed circular orbit. For ...
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What makes the stars that are farther from the nucleus of the galaxy go faster than those in the middle?

It has no sense that stars that have a bigger radius and apparently less angular speed($\omega$) goes faster than the ones near the center.
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Why is the distribution of dark matter in a Galaxy different from the distribution of normal matter?

The dynamics of a galaxy are driven by gravity. And dark matter experiences the same gravitational forces as normal matter. The effects of other forces are very small in comparison. So why is the ...
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Is it possible to determine whether distant galaxies are gravitationally bound

In a previous question, one issue was related to the potential energy of cosmic structures. This raised in particular the question of whether these structures are gravitationally bound. If you ...
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Why are stars spherical whereas (some) galaxies are disks?

I read here that galaxies become disks if there is a lot of gas in them, since their angular momentum is conserved while their energy decreases due to collisions of the gas particle. I have two ...
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Why do 3d spheres and gravity tend to rotating discs on one plane?

Whether is it our solar system or a whole galaxy, there is usually a massive object (star or black hole) at the centre with gas and objects rotating around it. The gravitational effect of the star/...
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What happen when two galaxies collide?

As the title suggests, I know collision of galaxies happens. Questions are Why do they collide (obviously because of gravity, but in what conditions)? Aftermath of the collision? If there is a super ...
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Expansion of the Universe: is new space(time?) being created or does it just get stretched?

Is new space(time?) being created as the Universe expands, or does the existing spacetime just get stretched? If it just gets stretched, why do galaxies move along with the expansion instead of just ...
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What is a flat rotation curve?

Was reading about dark matter and the distribution of it throughout the galaxy. it said "For example, if rotation curves are flat this means-" what exactly does this mean?
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Gross “temperature” of a globular cluster

Globular clusters can be very large, which means we can do statistics about the stars in them. And that means we can try matching their star-as-particle potential/kinetic energy distribution against ...
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What does ionization of neutral Hydrogen have to do with “transparency”?

Most accounts of the early history of the Universe make some reference to (re)ionization as being the reason that the Universe becomes transparent after a period of opacity caused by the absence of ...
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Are the distances we measure to objects in the universe incorrect because of their relative motion?

For example the agreed distance to the Andromeda Galaxy is 2.5 million light years, and consequentially, we see the galaxy as it was 2.5 million years ago! (A time interval in which the galaxy must ...
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211 views

How many galaxies could be the source of the recent LIGO detection?

The recent LIGO detection is pretty exciting, and a lot of people are asking whether there is a chance of optical detection of the black hole pair that created the signal. From a cursory reading of ...
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Why does Omega Centauri have a distinct chemical signature from the rest of the Milky Way?

In answering a question about the orbital path of Omega Centauri, I learned that it has a distinct chemical signature from the rest of the Milky Way. Basically, it is very rich in s-process elements, ...
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How did we find out the shape of our own galaxy without going out of it?

As far as I know, scientists have been able to see a lot of differently shaped galaxies in our visible universe through modern age telescopes. But I was wondering how it was possible to know how our ...
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In a random direction, am I more likely to find a dwarf or giant galaxy?

First a couple of disclaimers: My title explains the idea of my question, but I will pose it slightly differently to make it less subjective. This ends up being in the style of a homework exercise (...
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342 views

Is there a theoretical maximum “size” for galaxies?

I am aware of upper limits to the mass of burning stars and neutron stars, beyond which they degenerate into neutron stars and black holes respectively. And also, if I understand it right, there is a ...
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Could dark matter consist of the supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies?

Inspired by this question about whether dark matter is matter, noting that dark matter tends to be clumped in galaxies near the center and less so on the edges, accepting that many (most?) galaxies ...
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Solar system, visible stars and deep sky objects

Since I've seen that galaxies are often called "deep sky objects", as opposed to individual stars, does this mean that all visible stars in the night sky actually only belong to The Milky Way Galaxy? ...
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How are stellar and galactic ages determined?

Being a 4th year undergraduate physicist, you'd think I'd know this! But it's never really taught in any detail, just vague mentions of metallicities and, in galactic case, redshift. So how exactly ...
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What is the luminosity of the Milky Way galaxy?

The luminosity of the Milky Way galaxy according to this is $5\times10^{36}$ Watts, but this number suggests that there are about 10 billion stars with Solar luminosities in the Milky Way, which doesn'...
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Applying the Maxwell–Boltzmann statistics to astrophysical objects

Quoting Wikipedia: In statistical mechanics, Maxwell–Boltzmann statistics describes the statistical distribution of material particles over various energy states in thermal equilibrium, when the ...
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Stellar Viscosity in Galaxies

Is there such as thing as the viscosity of stars in a galaxy, along the lines of gravitational attraction between stars changing the dynamics. If so, how is that put in terms of the Virial Theorem?
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How much of a galaxy's mass is in stars?

I have been trying to find an answer for this question for a while without a success, so I guess it might not have a specific answer. But to make things easier, let's take the Milky Way galaxy as an ...
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Galaxy Spectra: Emission and Absorption Lines

Spectra from galaxies include both absorption and emission lines. I do understand how both types of spectral lines are produced but I am not quite sure where each type is coming from when we observe a ...
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580 views

About the hump on galaxy rotation curves

The past days I have been studying the rotation curves of disk galaxies and I am currently trying to understand how we can extract information about the dark matter of a galaxy by looking its rotation ...
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120 views

Do galaxies have a halo of neutrinos and cosmic microwave background?

If virial arguments as in "How can dark matter collapse without collisions or radiation?" allow concluding that dark matter could collapse to galactic halos purely gravitationally, then is this true ...
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661 views

How and why will the Milky Way collide with the Andromeda galaxy?

Hubble's law says that the universe is expanding. How come the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxies are on a collision course? How will they end up colliding with each other?
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Why the red-shift of distant galaxies is considered to be the effect of expanding spacetime?

Why it's not explained just by Doppler redshift caused by faster movement of those galaxies billions of years ago when that light was emitted? Would the speeds of the galaxies necessary for Doppler ...
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2answers
779 views

Does the dark matter halo rotate with the galaxy?

If the dark matter halo is stationary related to the arms of the galaxy then tidal effects should slow the galaxy rotation. If it rotates with the normal matter in the galaxy then shouldn't it ...
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1answer
687 views

What is the limit for the size of a galaxy?

The largest known galaxy is just 100x more massive than Milky Way. I wonder if there is some physical mechanism (some equilibrium) which limits the size of galaxies or if it is just because of limited ...
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472 views

Relation between isophotal radius and virial radius in spiral galaxies?

Is there any (proposed) relation between the $B$-band isophotal radius of a spiral galaxy and its virial radius ($R_{200}$)? If you know of such a relation, please post a reference paper.
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Why is the universe so organized?

If you think about the Big Bang and the flow of matter in all directions, you would think, how unorganized would this universe be? No matter how long it would take. The idea that matter or most of it ...
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How many more galaxies are out there in the Universe (beyond the observable radius)?

Let's say that the number of large galaxies in the observable universe is $n$ (approximated to 350 billion). If the universe is homogenous and isotropic, what are the estimations for the total number ...
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461 views

Astronomical sources of muons

I am looking for some sources of muon particles (μ) in astronomy. By this, I mean I am interested in any astrophysical event where theoretical presence of muons is suggested. For instance, does the ...
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What does this stellar mass distribution mean?

According to this pie above and for the "Red Dwarfs" part, which of these is correct : 1) 41% of the stellar mass of a galaxy is in stars with masses < $0.25$ $M_{\odot}$ or 2) 41% of the total ...
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Mass of a galaxy via luminosity

Is there a general formula for calculating the mass of a galaxy, or even a nebula from the luminosity? Or, is there a way of calculating the total mass of a galaxy from its energy output? Is there a ...
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942 views

What frame(s) of reference are used to measure the rotation of the Sun around the galaxy ?

I can find various speeds and estimated durations listed at numerous places but none specifically describe the frame of reference. Possible options as example of kind of answer I expect. Local ...
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1answer
149 views

How do we know the actual position of the Andromeda galaxy, if we are seeing 2.5 million years in the past?

Scientists estimate that Andromeda and The Milky Way are going to collide in about 2.5 million years, how accurate is that calculation?
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How can we differentiate between matter and antimatter? [duplicate]

For instance if there was a galaxy, assume it to be made up of antimatter (isolated from other "normal" galaxies), how would we, or rather, would we be able to distinguish if it was made up of matter ...
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Why is “gravitational” red-shift neglected in galaxy and galaxy cluster scales?

The red-shift of the light of a star in a galaxy or that of a galaxy in a cluster of galaxies is generally interpreted as how fast the star or the galaxy is moving, i.e. it is interpreted in a purely ...
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217 views

Why doesn't the light from galaxies appear stretched? [duplicate]

Maybe it's my ignorance of astrophysics/cosmology, but I have been wondering this: Why do galaxies not appear stretched when we observe them? Assuming a galaxy that we observe is 100,000 light years ...
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How Galaxy is formed?

Given the distance among stars (the most massive objective in the space) is so huge, the difference of order of magnitude is about 7. And also, since gravity is such a weak force, how is it likely for ...
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Is most of the matter in the observable universe within galaxies?

Do we know, either through observations or through theory driven computer simulations, the location of the majority of the visible matter in the observable universe? That is, is it located within ...
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1answer
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Most accurate ways to find the average distance between stars in Milky way galaxy

I've already posted here on quora. But, I'm not totally sure if it's the most reasonable method. Would anyone care to elaborate on how to find the average distance between stars in a given galaxy (...
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1answer
186 views

How Much Do Spiral Arms Affect Their Galaxies' Rotation Curves?

According to Jerry Sellwood of Rutgers University, in the article What process creates and maintains the beautiful spiral arms around spiral galaxies?: Fortunately, nearly every one agrees that ...
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If there is a super massive black hole at the center of our galaxy then why is the center of our galaxy so bright? [duplicate]

Below is our galaxy, if there is a such a massive black hole at the center then wouldn't it suck in any light traveling above it, or is the amount of light put out by stars near the center so great ...
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580 views

Experimental Data for Mass Distribution of a Galaxy

My goal here is not to discuss dark matter in general. I know there are many other observational clues that hint us towards Dark matter. My goal is simply to understand this argument here a little ...