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Cosmic Storm Gives Astronomers New Insight Into Galaxy Formation

An artist’s impression showing a galaxy with a molecular outflow.

The European Space Agency (ESA) says it has observed fast-moving cosmic storms of star-forming gases that will help scientists unravel some of the mysteries of how galaxies and stars form and continue to evolve.

ESA’s Herschel space telescope detected the unique galactic phenomenon.

Scientists working on the project say the fastest gas and dust outflows gust at an estimated 1,000 kilometers per second, 10,000 times faster than the winds in a hurricane on earth. The storms could rob a galaxy of its star-forming matter in less than 10 million years.

The Herschel telescope observation is important because it is the first time scientists have witnessed high-velocity storms clearing out the molecular raw materials from which stars form.