There’s more to a galaxy than meets the eye. Galaxies’ bright stars seem to spiral serenely against the dark backdrop of space. But a more careful look reveals a whole lot of mayhem.
“Galaxies are just like you and me,” Jessica Werk, an astronomer at the University of Washington in Seattle, said in January at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society. “They live their lives in a constant state of turmoil.”
“Only recently have we been able to really, truly, observationally characterize the relationship between this gaseous cycle and the properties of the galaxy itself,” Werk says.
“The CGM is the part of the iceberg that’s under the water,” says astrophysicist Kevin Schawinski of ETH Zurich, who studies the more conventional parts of galaxies. “We now have good measurements where we’re sure it’s important.”