Just don’t call them “failed Milky Ways”
Plus: We ride in a Ford Lightning, the electric F-150.
The ultradiffuse galaxy is defined by the wide-open spaces between a relatively small number of stars. Think of the ultradiffuse galaxy, or UDG for short, as Interstate 70 through Western Kansas into Eastern Colorado, but in space.
Unlike that stretch of mind-numbing asphalt (apologies to our readers in the border hamlet of Kanorado, Kansas), the reason why the UDG has so few stars and is so spread has remained a mystery. These dim little galaxies have far fewer stars than our own Milky Way Galaxy. One theory is that UDGs just never developed into star-rich ultra-bright galaxies.
But a new finding has sort of turned that “failed Milky Way” idea on its head. Astronomers have found UDGs maybe never had any stars and won’t form any. Astronomers called these “quenched galaxies.” As you’d expect, our friend dark matter is in play.
José A. Benavides, a graduate student at the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Astronomy in Argentina and the first author of a research paper on the subject, explains why the “failed Milky Way” idea doesn’t tell the full story.
“One of the popular theories to explain this was that UDGs are ‘failed Milky Ways,’ meaning they were destined to be galaxies like our own Milky Way but somehow failed to form stars,” Benavides said in a statement released with new research.
“We now know that this scenario cannot explain all UDGs. So theoretical models are arising where more than one formation mechanism may be able to form these ultradiffuse objects.”
Read — and see — more on this stellar story in this edition of Inverse Daily.
I’m Nick Lucchesi, and this is Inverse Daily, your morning dispatch on science, technology, and culture, from the writers at Inverse. Please share this newsletter with a friend by sending them this link.
This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for Thursday, September 9, 2021. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day in your inbox. ✉️
“Stay in the ground” — Tara Yarlagadda speaks with scientists who stress 60 percent of oil and fossil methane gas and 90 percent of coal must stay in the ground to prevent global temperatures from rising above 1.5 °C:
A study published Wednesday in the journal Nature asserts that humans also need to significantly limit the percentage of fossil fuels pulled from the ground.
The research team wanted to know how much fossil fuel we would need to leave undisturbed to avoid allowing the global average air temperature to rise 1.5° Celsius above what it was between 1850-1900, a 50-year period known for “pre-industrial temperature.”
More news on the impact of fossil fuels:
- Underwater gas leak: The “eye of fire” video is a story too few are thinking about
- A critical element of the climate crisis may be hidden in the Arctic permafrost
- Aviation’s biggest names take a critical step to make green air travel a reality
The new electric Ford F-150 — Jordan Golson reports in from Detroit that the Ford F-150 is the country’s best-selling vehicle, and there’s an electric version coming out next year. Golson got a ride and has a full report:
The Lightning is revolutionary not for what it is, but what it isn’t. It’s not trying to be anything except for a pickup truck. Ford representatives emphasized when they revealed the truck that it was an F-150 first and electric second. Any F-150, even one with a plug and a host of batteries, first needed to live up to the company’s “Built Ford Tough” mantra.
It sounds like a mere marketing slogan, but Ford’s truck designers and engineers see it as a mantra to live up to — one decades in the making. The F-150 Lightning won’t begin shipping until next 2022, but when Ford asked if I wanted to get a closer look at one, I jumped on a flight to Detroit.
Related stories on Ford’s big bet:
- Ford F-150 Lightning price, range, specs, release date for the electric pickup truck
- Ford F-150 Lightning: Why a truck could save the planet (really!)
- The Ford F-150 Lightning could change how you look at electric trucks
SpaceX Starship: Render shows design is evolving — Mike Brown reports on SpaceX's under-development rocket and how it is set to soar. A new rendering shows how the ship will look with the booster attached:
The image shows one of SpaceX’s most ambitious projects in incredible new detail. CEO Elon Musk first unveiled the Starship’s predecessor in 2017, intending to take over existing Falcon 9 launches while enabling more ambitious missions. These include a city on Mars by 2050, enabled by the ship’s fully reusable design and ability to transport 100 people at a time.
The changes show how SpaceX’s design is evolving, as Musk himself said in March 2020. Musk regularly shares updates via Twitter on tweaks like the number of legs and number of engines. As the company gears up to host the rocket’s first orbital flight sometime within the next four months, the render recalls how the Starship that flies to Mars could look ever more different than previous iterations.
See the image and read the full story.
The more you know:
- SpaceX Starship: Photo shows impressive heat tiles ahead of major test
- From Starhopper to Dragon: 3 years of SpaceX in 12 images
- SpaceX Starship orbital flight: launch date and plan for Mars-bound ship
Mysterious galaxies help unlock the secrets of dark matter — Jenn Walter has put together a card story about a simulation that gives insight into how ultradiffuse galaxies are formed -- an elusive type of dwarf galaxy that is notoriously tough to spot.
- Scientists chart origin, formation of ultra-diffuse galaxies; dark matter possible key to unusual structure (Science Times)
- Astronomers nail down the origins of rare loner dwarf galaxies (MIT News)
- Astronomers explain the origin of isolated ultra-diffuse galaxies (Earth.com)
That’s all for this Thursday edition. Be kind to each other while you still have an opportunity.
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