starburst galaxy


Also found in: Wikipedia.

starburst galaxy

A galaxy in which a massive burst of star formation is currently taking place: it is characterized by an infrared luminosity that is considerably larger than its optical luminosity, sometimes by a factor of 50 or more. The luminosity of starburst galaxies can compare to the bolometric luminosity of quasars, but is powered by a fundamentally different mechanism. The starburst occurs in a region over a kiloparsec in size, thus distinguishing these galaxies from active galaxies, which have a tiny central powerhouse. A few nearby starburst galaxies (e.g. M82) have long been known from their disturbed optical appearance, but their widespread occurrence was only established when thousands were revealed by infrared satellite IRAS. They are basically spirals in which the star formation is proceeding at a rate that cannot be sustained for much of the lifetime of the galaxy. The trigger for the burst of star formation is unclear although in some cases the gravitational effect of a companion galaxy may be responsible (see interacting galaxies). The new stars are still enveloped in the galaxy's dense molecular clouds; their ultraviolet radiation is absorbed by dust in the clouds and reradiated as infrared. See also IRAS galaxies.

starburst galaxy

[′stär‚bərst ‚gal·ik·sē]
(astronomy)
A galaxy that is presently undergoing a period of intense star formation.
References in periodicals archive ?
In 2017, Izotov and Thuan's team discovered the current champion: a starburst galaxy in Lynx that's 620 million light-years distant--10 times farther than I Zwicky 18--bearing the prosaic name J0811+4730.
Discovering a hyper-luminous starburst galaxy is an extraordinary feat, but discovering two - this close to each other - is amazing.
Summary: TEHRAN (FNA)- Light from a supernova explosion in the nearby starburst galaxy M82 is reverberating off a huge dust cloud in interstellar space.
Rather than an exploding galaxy, M-82 is now understood to be a starburst galaxy, ejecting plumes of dust and gas as stars form.
The team of astronomers used the new Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a giant radio telescope in the high desert of northern Chile, to discover billowing columns of cold, dense gas being pushed out of starburst galaxy NGC 253, also known as the Silver Dollar or Sculptor Galaxy.
NGC 253, often called the Silver Coin or Silver Dollar galaxy, is a starburst galaxy which means that it is currently undergoing a period of intense star formation, possibly caused by a recent merger or collision with another galaxy.
Centre: A starburst galaxy and (below) the Orion Nebula
M82 is an example of a starburst galaxy where a massive outbreak of star formation in its core is blowing huge stellar winds into surrounding space.
IC 10 has the distinction of being the closest known starburst galaxy at slightly more than 2 million light-years, and the only member of the Local Group currently undergoing starburst activity.
It is also a starburst galaxy, which is to say, it is forming new stars at a very rapid pace.
The intense activity within a starburst galaxy speeds up this process significantly.
It lies at the center of the Sculptor galaxy, also known as NGC 253, a so-called starburst galaxy actively giving birth to new stars.