Astronomers obtained the most detailed anatomy chart of a monster galaxy located 12.4 billion light-years away. Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the team revealed that the molecular clouds in the galaxy are highly unstable, which leads to runaway star formation. Monster galaxies are thought to be the ancestors of the huge elliptical galaxies (image above) in today’s Universe. One speculative school of thought, refuted in a 2015 paper, suggested that oval-shaped elliptical galaxies are most likely to host intelligent civilizations.
Astrophysicists have discovered a dozen black holes —“invisible one-way doors out of our universe” —gathered around Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, which in May, 2019 suddenly brightened, appearing like a massive, dormant volcano.
Astronomers have long puzzled over a paradox of planet creation: once dusty bodies grow to about one centimeter in diameter the dynamics of a smooth protoplanetary disk would induce them to fall in on their host star, never acquiring the mass necessary to form potentially habitable planets like Mars, Venus, and Earth.
“Most previous observations had been targeted to detect the presence of very massive planets, which we know are rare, that had carved out large inner holes or gaps in bright disks,” said Paola Pinilla, a NASA Hubble Fellow at the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory. “While massive planets had been inferred in some of these bright disks, little had been known about the fainter disks.”