How Spiral Galaxies Take Shape: A Scientific Insight

Researchers have long pondered how exactly spiral galaxies, similar to our Milky Way, ​end up in that particular shape. New studies of a faraway galaxy are helping astronomers begin to comprehend that mystery.

Scientists from the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy now say that magnetic fields are the main factor in the shaping process of these spiral galaxies. The team of researchers says that magnetic fields are not visible, but may affect the development of a galaxy. They then indicate that while scientists have a quite decent understanding of the way gravity impacts galactic structure, they are just starting to comprehend the position magnetic fields have.

Magnetic Fields Condensed

The magnetic field in spiral galaxies is lined up with the spiral arms all over the galaxy, which is over 24,000 light-years across. Scientists measure magnetic fields together with the arms of the spiral galaxy known as NGC 1068 or M77.

The fields are depicted as streamlines that follow the rotating spiral arms at close distance. Magnetic field alignment with the star establishment suggests that gravitational forces that generate the spiral form are also condensing the magnetic field. The team of researchers then says that the line up implies a leading hypothesis of the way arms are obliged into their spiral form, known as the ‘density wave theory.’

Galaxy M77 is located at 47 million light-years from our planet in the constellation Cetus. It hosts an active supermassive black hole at its core believed to be twice as energetic as the black hole held by the Milky Way galaxy at its core. The arms of M77 are packed with dust, gas, and regions of powerful star formation.

Utilizing infrared observations, scientists were able to conclude that the magnetic fields follow the spiral arms filled with new stars at a close distance. That thoroughly sustains the density wave theory, which implies that gas and stars in the arms are not stationary. They are, instead, moving along the arms as gravity pressure it.

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