starburst galaxy


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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 ?
Caption: Artist's concept of a starburst galaxy (upper right) hidden behind a veil of dust (lower left).
The brightness blooming in the centre of NGC 3256 gives away its status as a powerful starburst galaxy, host to vast amounts of infant stars born into groups and clusters.
"Finding just one hyper-luminous starburst galaxy is remarkable in itself.
"Discovering a hyper-luminous starburst galaxy is an extraordinary feat, but discovering two - this close to each other - is amazing.
The normal and starburst galaxy samples are obtained from Kennicutt [13].
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.
Michelle showed HIZOA J0836-43 to be a luminous infrared starburst galaxy with a fairly high star formation rate, arising from strong molecular PAH emission and far-infrared emission from cold dust.
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.
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.