Look at clouds of dust and gas in four neighboring galaxies

Scientists used the combined data from several completed space missions to create

detailed images of clouds of gas and dust in various galaxies located within 3 million light years from Earth: Andromedae (M31); Triangle (M33), Large and Small Magellanic Clouds.

In red in the images is indicatedHydrogen gas is the most abundant element in the universe. It is especially well seen in the image of the Large Magellanic Cloud, where it forms a "red tail". Researchers believe that it was formed about 100 million years ago when this galaxy collided with the Small Magellanic Cloud.

In the images you can see the bubbles of the emptyspace. Such regions, scientists explain, are formed around young stars: strong winds from the "newborns" blow away the surrounding dust and gas. The cold particles carried away accumulate at the edges, forming a green outline. Warmer dust, characteristic of places where new stars are just being born, is highlighted in blue.

Infrared images of the Bolshoy (top) andSmall (bottom) Magellanic clouds. Source: ESA, NASA, NASA-JPL, Caltech, Christopher Clark (STScI), S. Kim (Sejong University), T. Wong (UIUC), S. Stanimirovic (UW-Madison), N. Mizuno (Nagoya University)

The researchers note that the new work is notjust beautiful pictures. This reconstruction helps to better understand star formation. Elements such as carbon, oxygen and iron can stick to dust particles. Their presence alters the dust's absorption of starlight.

In the densest clouds, almost everything is heavy.elements can be trapped in dust particles. Elsewhere, destructive radiation from newborn stars or explosive shock waves break up dust particles and release gas. As the researchers note, the ratio of dust and gas in one galaxy can vary up to 20 times.

Infrared images of the Andromeda galaxies(top) and Triangle (bottom). Source: ESA, NASA, NASA-JPL, Caltech, Christopher Clark (STScI), R. Braun (SKA Observatory), C. Nieten (MPI Radioastronomie), Matt Smith (Cardiff University), E. Koch (University of Alberta), C. Druard (University of Bordeaux)

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