Galactic storms in the infrared universe

Dr. Eckhard Sturm (MPE)

The Herschel Space Observatory lets us see the world in a new light - the infrared. This long-wavelength radiation penetrates clouds of gas and dust that obscure the optical light and makes cool objects visible.


Astronomers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics have now detected huge storm clouds of molecular gas raging in the centres of many galaxies with velocities of more than 1000 kilometres per second - much stronger than hurricanes on Earth with their maximum 250 kilometres per hour.


These mega-storms are powerful enough to blow away the entire gas supply of a galaxy, and so can put a stop to both further star formation and the growth of the black hole in the centre.


After an entertaining introduction to infrared astronomy Eckhard Sturm from MPE will explain and discuss this spectacular result, which is fundamental to our understanding of galaxy evolution.


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