A team of researchers from Europe and the USA have measured the bar length of some 5000 galaxies with the help of amateur astronomers and released the most precise results obtained for 3150 galaxies. Scientists have discovered that the reddest galaxies with the largest central bulb have the longest bars - gigantic central columns of stars and dark matter- using Google Maps.
In the electromagnetic spectrum, the color red comes from older, cooler stars whereas the colour blue is linked to hotter and younger stars. The study also reveals that the bars tend to be redder than the rest of the galaxy, which indicates that they have an older stellar population, which some astronomers believe may harbor the highest potential for advanced extraterrestrial life.
More than two thirds of spiral galaxies, including our own Milky Way, display colossal elongated central structures are made up of collections of stars and dark matter that extend for thousands of light years.
The study comes under the Galaxy Zoo project, a citizen science initiative in which more than 200,000 volunteers assisted in classifying a million galaxies through images provided by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey astronomical catalogue. The team has used the Google Maps Sky interface, which allows seeing the sky especially the galaxies, as seen from the Earth’s surface.
Other conclusions indicate that those galaxies with a larger bulb (a central agglomeration of stars) have longer bars. In addition, barred galaxies are more likely to display spiral arms than unbarred galaxies.
Image credit: with thanks to spacetelescope.org
Source: The Daily Galaxy - the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society journal