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Post Info TOPIC: Ultracompact Blue Dwarf Galaxies


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Blue fuzzies
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Australian astronomers have discovered that the universe is peppered with tiny blue dwarf galaxies known as 'blue fuzzies'.
These tiny galaxies are made up mostly of young hot stars that shine brightly, dominating the light from the galaxies they are in.
According to a report in ABC News, Dr Sarah Brough of the Anglo-Australian Observatory made the discovery while examining data from a study called the Galaxy and Mass Assembly survey (GAMA).

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Ultracompact Blue Dwarf Galaxies
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Title: Ultracompact Blue Dwarf Galaxies: Hubble Space Telescope Imaging and Stellar Population Analysis
Authors: Michael R. Corbin, William D. Vacca, Roberto Cid Fernandes, John E. Hibbard, Rachel S. Somerville, Rogier A. Windhorst
(Abridged)

Researchers present deep Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys / High Resolution Channel U, narrow-V, and I images of nine "ultracompact" blue dwarf galaxies (UCBDs) selected from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
They define UCBDs as local (z < 0.01) star-forming galaxies having angular diameters < 6" and physical sizes < 1 kpc. They are also among the most metal-poor galaxies known, and are found to reside within voids. Both the HST images and the objects' optical spectra reveal that they are composites of young (~1 Myr) populations that dominate their light, and older (~10 Gyr) populations that dominate their stellar masses, which we estimate to be ~10^7 - 10^8 Msol. An intermediate-age population is also indicated in most cases. The objects are not as dynamically disturbed as the prototype UCBD, POX 186, but the structure of several of them suggests that their current starbursts have been triggered by the collisions/mergers of smaller clumps of stars.
In one case, HS 0822+3542, the ACS/HRC images resolve the object into two small (~100 pc) components which appear to have recently collided, supporting this interpretation. In six of the objects much of their star formation is concentrated in Young Massive Star clusters. The evidence that the galaxies consist mainly of ~10 Gyr old stars establishes that they are not protogalaxies; their low metallicities are more likely to be the result of the escape of supernova ejecta, as opposed to youth. These results are consistent with recent galaxy formation simulations which predict that cosmic re-ionisation at z ~ 6 significantly limited the subsequent star formation of dwarf galaxies in voids due to the photo-evaporation of baryons from their cold dark matter halos.

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