Nearly 90 percent of its stars were formed only 8 billion years ago, which is young in comparison to the majority of stars surveyed in the cosmos, so far
Space news (new star formation in dwarf galaxy Leo A, 2.54 million light-years from Earth) – It appears star formation in this smaller galaxy didn’t start until it was good and ready, which for astronomers poses a few puzzling questions –
Astronomers studying planetary formation in smaller dwarf galaxies sprinkled around the nearby cosmos have found something different about the process of star formation in a member of the Local Group of galaxies. This nearby group contains two large spiral galaxies, the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxy (M31), and about 30 galaxies in total.
Dwarf galaxies are both more numerous in the cosmos and simpler in structure than larger spiral galaxies, but harder to study in most cases due to the extreme distances involved. In the case of closer dwarf galaxies, like Leo A, they’re easier to study in detail, but still hard to study due to their smaller size of around 10,000 light-years.
Astronomers studying dwarf galaxy Leo A also called UGC 5364 and LEDA 28868, have found no evidence of recent mergers with any of its neighbours. They have discovered, however, that nearly 90 percent of the stars in this smaller galaxy are younger than 8 billion years. This goes against the current theory that such a result would normally be due to a recent merger with another galaxy. A finding that has astronomers asking a puzzling question concerning star formation timescales in dwarf galaxies viewed during the human journey to the beginning of space and time.
Why is Leo A dominated by young stars, despite showing no signs of a recent merger with another galaxy?
Other astronomers studying Leo A recently reported the discovery of an old stellar halo and sharp edge, along with a distribution of stars extending just beyond its gaseous envelope. This implies smaller galaxies with less mass and stars also develop complex structures like larger spiral galaxies. This challenges current galaxy evolution theory and our understanding of smaller island universes.
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