New theory and simulations about how the galaxies formed, including Milky Way

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Supernova explosions eject copious amounts of gas from galaxies, which causes atoms to be transported from one galaxy to another via powerful galactic winds. The transfer of mass through galactic winds can account for up to 50 percent of matter in the larger galaxies. This process occurred over several billion years. “Given how much of the matter out of which we formed may have come from other galaxies, we could consider ourselves space travelers or extragalactic immigrants,” said Daniel Anglés-Alcázar, a postdoctoral fellow in Northwestern’s astrophysics center.

Milky-Way
The Milky Way Galaxy

The research group coordinated by Professor Claude-André Faucher-Giguère a along with collaborators from the FIRE (“Feedback In Realistic Environments”) project, which he co-leads, had developed sophisticated numerical simulations that produced realistic 3-D models of galaxies. “This study transforms our understanding of how galaxies formed from the Big Bang,” said Faucher-Giguère. “Our origins are much less local than we previously thought,” he also said. The full study was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society in the UK. The next step for the researchers is to collaborate with observational astronomers working with the Hubble Space Telescope and Earth-based observatories to test the simulations’ predictions.

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