Source: University of Toronto
Astronomers usually only see flat versions of the real galaxies in the Universe, as pictures projected on their computer screens. But researchers in the international collaboration ATLAS3D have used a clever trick to figure out what 260 galaxies do in the third dimension missing from their images.
They added motion to the picture by measuring the velocities of stars going through the plane of the image. Using this method, the ATLAS3D researchers were able to tell whether stars were part of a flattened spinning disk or a motionless balloon-shaped blob (called elliptical galaxy).
This advance should help them figure out how galaxies change as they age and collide with one another. (read more)