Shedding Light on the Power of M 82's Superwinds

January 18, 2013
Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU)

An international team of astronomers from Kyoto University, Kavli IPMU, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Ehime University, and University of Sydney has discovered that outflows of gas from starburst galaxy M 82 collide with a "cap" of gas clouds 40,000 light years away from the galactic disk. Shockwaves from M 82's central starburst region are the most likely source of the bright clouds within the cap. The large light-gathering power of Subaru Telescope's 8.2-m mirror and its ability to produce highly detailed images enabled the researchers to make these findings, which provide important clues about the wind's power.

The scientific results on which this release was based were published in the December 10, 2012 edition of The Astrophysical Journal: K. Matsubayashi et al., "Ionization Source of a Minor-Axis Cloud in the Outer Halo of M 82", 761:55 (8pp).

Full Story: Subaru Telescope/National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ)