September 17, 2014

Violent Origins of Disc Galaxies Probed by ALMA

New observations explain why Milky Way-like galaxies are so common in the Universe

For decades scientists have believed that galaxy mergers usually result in the formation of elliptical galaxies. Now, for the the first time, researchers using ALMA and a host of other radio telescopes have found direct evidence that merging galaxies can instead form disc galaxies, and that this outcome is in fact quite common. This surprising result could explain why there are so many spiral galaxies like the Milky Way in the Universe.