From Galactic Magnetic Fields, the cosmic birth boom and the turbulent formation of our Milky Way Galaxy: In our March issue, Bild der Wissenschaft reports new insights into the evolution of the universe. Above all, the Jaya Space Telescope and the Alma Radio Telescope Observatory have led to exciting new discoveries that have changed the image of space and our cosmic home.
Many aspects of the universe will forever remain obscure – but the inquisitive gaze and analytical mind of humans could save at least a few moments of aha. Every now and then, ideas have to be changed, supplemented, or corrected. This scientific progress has accelerated incrementally in recent years. Therefore, an update on the latest findings on the history of the universe’s evolution and its infrastructure is announced.
In the first article for the three-part title topic, astronomy expert from Bdw Rüdiger Vaas focuses on new insights into the development of a special spiral galaxy: our Milky Way, the outskirts of which are the sun. Since it is our cosmic home, exploring this galaxy is difficult because it is not possible to get a clear view of the giant structure from the outside. But in recent years, the astronomical satellite Gaia in particular has revolutionized the understanding of the Milky Way’s structure and evolution. Vaas reports, among other things, how new spiral arms and the gigantic structures that contain them were discovered. In addition, the turbulent history of our cosmic homeland is becoming clearer: it has therefore been marked by massive collisions and cannibals in galaxies.
New aspects of the history of cosmic evolution
In the second part of the title topic, Bdw author Thomas Bührke wrote about new insights into the gigantic magnetic fields permeating the universe that had a profound effect on the structure of galaxies and the formation of stars through their power. In spiral galaxies, a broad magnetic field follows the spiral arms. Molecular winds also transmit magnetic fields to the outer regions of the galaxy. Although it can apparently slow star formation in galaxies, it is also a prerequisite for the formation of new stars at all, according to Buerke’s report in the article “Magnetic Force”.
Then the author goes further on the topic of star formation. It became apparent that many stars formed in one fell swoop about ten billion years ago, as he wrote in the “Cosmic Baby Boom” article. The peak came about four billion years after the Big Bang. Since then, the birth rate has decreased and a kind of cosmic twilight began. The current number of stars can only be explained by the fact that matter is constantly flowing into galaxies. Meanwhile, more than 90 percent of the stars that have existed in the universe will exist in the future, according to Buhrke’s report.
You can learn more in the March issue of bild der Wissenschaft, which will be available in stores from February 16th.