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Scientists Nickname Gas-Absorbing Galaxy 'Akira'

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge
Galaxy steals gas from neighboring galaxy, Tetsuo

A team of scientists answered an intergalactic riddle that has left many stumped. An international team discovered why galaxies that previously absorbed gases at a rapid rate and produced an impressive amount of stars will suddenly stop.

University of Tokyo's Edmond Cheung and his team used manga, the kind penned by Katsuhiro Otomo and the Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory (MaNGA) to name and observe the process in one particular galaxy dubbed Akira. The mostly-dormant Akira was siphoning gas from its nearby, companion galaxy fittingly christened Tetsuo.

What the scientists saw is Tetsuo's gas fueling Akira's supermassive black hole winds. The winds travel as fast as 124 miles per second which heats up Akira and prevents it from forming new stars. Gas and gravity are usually enough for a galaxy to create a star, but the heat prevents the gas from clumping together first.

Scientists have named other natural phenomenon after the world of anime and manga. Researchers named a rare worm Eoperipatus totoro because of its resemblance to My Neighbor Totoro's catbus. Manga creators Moyoco Anno and Jiro Taniguchi both have asteroids named after them.

Source: Nature via Belinda Smith at Cosmos Magazine
Artistic rendition of Akira and Tetsuo Galaxies by Kavli IPMU

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