View Full Version : Bad Astronomy At The BBC

2003-Jul-29, 09:10 PM
I was surfing the BBC news site and stumbled across an article entitled "Puzzle of Empty Galaxies" here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3067693.stm) It seemed to me to be an oxymoron. If it's where a galaxy is supposed to be and it's empty, then it's empty space. :roll:

I will admit that they go on to explain that it is a huge mass of gas (a billion solarmass'), with "...a few stars..." but where do they get off calling it "empty:? If it has a billion solarmass' worth of gas then it's not empty. If it has stars, it's not empty. #-o What I question is, is it a galaxy? I think they need a better name. How about ghost galaxies?! ooooooo

Am I being over critical here? Yellow press sensation mongering at it's Brittish best. Any other opinions? :)

2003-Jul-29, 10:09 PM
Well, the title does sound odd. What they really mean is "empty of stars." Or rather "Galaxy-sized clouds of gas with almost no stars."

:-k Perhaps that would be too long for a title. Shorten and sensationalize to grab your attention.

So, what is a little error between media lines? =;

2003-Jul-30, 02:22 AM
You might be a bit overcritical Russ - on the scale of things the BBC get wrong or don't make clear this rates fairly low... See here (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=7024) to understand what I mean...

2003-Jul-30, 02:31 AM
I went through the article and I have to say I'm a bit puzzled. Now they say these galaxies are gas clouds tens of thousands of light years across, so if there is an almost constant stream of gas can't it be said these galaxies are more "filled" then one which has it's mass concentrated in a few thousand stars?

:-? Also could these be examples of ultra young galaxies? From my very basic understanding, stars form when enough hydrogen (or possibly other nuclear fuels?) is attracted together to build a strong enough gravitational force to cause a sustained fusion reaction in it's center. So, could these vast clouds of gas be the beginning of a galaxy that has yet to condense to cloud into different stars?

2003-Jul-30, 02:31 PM
I was wondering that, too. But they are within out Local Group of galaxies.

Strange puzzle it is. :-k