The Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array is putting together an astronomical census of nearby stellar nurseries called the Physics at High Angular resolution in Nearby GalaxieS, or PHANGS. So far, about 100,000 such nurseries have been charted over the course of more than 750 hours of observation focused on 74 nearby galaxies. The goal is to eventually characterise some 300,000 stellar nurseries to help astronomers better understand why some star forming regions evolve gradually while others experience rapid, if not explosive, rates of star birth. The PHANGS study is expected to shed light on how a galaxy’s size, age and internal dynamics might influence star formation.
A team of astronomers has found an enigmatic gas cloud, called CO-0.40-0.22, only 200 light-years away from the centre of the Milky Way. The cloud contains gas with a very wide range of speeds. The so-called velocity dispersion is best explained by the gravitational attraction of an intermediate mass black hole. If that is the case, then this is the first detection of such a body.
Subtle distortions hidden in a stunning Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) image of the gravitational lens SDP.81 are telltale signs that a dwarf dark galaxy is lurking in the halo of a much larger galaxy nearly 4 billion light-years away. This discovery could help astronomers address important questions on the nature of dark matter.