Explore galaxy formation and evolution with Cosmic Origins

Posted by Liz Kruesi
on Wednesday, April 23, 2014

In March, we introduced Cosmic Origins, a tablet app you can download and then purchase four fabulous interactive products that lie within. Three of these article packages focus on different categories of objects in the cosmos, like planets, stars, and galaxies. The fourth focuses on the universe itself. Each of the four products — essentially digital special issues — is chock-full of new research and fun ways to learn more about that science.

In the product How galaxies came to be, you can learn how black holes affect their host galaxies, watch as spiral galaxies collide, test your knowledge about galaxy types, separate galaxy clusters by how far from Earth they lie, and more.

The first galaxies grew by the gravitational force from tiny seeds imprinted in the universe’s earliest moments. Hundreds of millions of years later, those conglomerates developed into protogalaxies that combined to build up larger structures, eventually forming galaxies like our Milky Way and the neighboring Andromeda Galaxy (M31). Along the evolutionary cycle, supermassive black holes that live at the centers of all large galaxies also influence their hosts. While the process of galaxy formation hinges on gravity, it includes many more details and has taken decades of observations and theoretical inquiry to unravel.

The quest to understand this process is what inspired the staff of Astronomy magazine to create the digital publication How galaxies came to be. This interactive guide describes what scientists know about how galaxies and their larger conglomerates — galaxy clusters — form and evolve through cosmic time.

You can download the Cosmic Origins app at the Apple App Store (for iPads) or the Google Play store (for Android tablets), which allows you to then purchase How stars form and evolve. You can also preview the product and the three others in Cosmic Origins at www.Astronomy.com/cosmicorigins.

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