This ongoing recycling keeps galaxies from emptying their "fuel tanks" and therefore stretches out their star-forming epoch to over 10 billion years. However, galaxies that ignite a rapid firestorm of star birth can blow away their remaining fuel, essentially turning off further star-birth activity.
This conclusion is based on a series of Hubble Space Telescope observations that flexed the special capabilities of its comparatively new Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) to detect otherwise invisible mass in the halo of our Milky Way and a sample of more than 40 other galaxies. Data from large ground-based telescopes in Hawaii, Arizona, and Chile also contributed to the studies by measuring the properties of the galaxies.
This invisible mass is made up of normal matter -- hydrogen, helium, and heavier elements such as carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and neon -- as opposed to dark matter that is an unknown exotic particle pervading space.
The results are being published in three papers in the November 18 issue of Science magazine. Not that I think for one moment anybody reading this will rush out to buy a copy but I am sharing the knowledge with you just in case.
In other news here on planet earth it is a sad fact of life that in 2011 we are still in a position where the worlds poorest countries may still have to wait around another 200 years to have proper sanitation and clean water supplies. A hundred years ago people would have laughed at you if you told them of the riches and technology that we take for granted every day and yet 900.000.000 people worldwide live without access to clean water. As a race we do have some lessons to learn and it astounds me that we have failed on an epic scale to learn them yet.
The divide between rich countries and poor countries grows ever wider and instead of trying to bridge that gap we seem to allow it to grow.
I think as a race we have failed dismally and could do well to take a leaf out of the books of other species, you don’t see them screwing one another over for a percentage, they tend to work together. Now there’s a radical idea, just think if we pooled our collective resources and minds the possibilities would truly be endless. Instead we seem to enjoy simply blowing the shit out of one another for jollies.
Anyway, I guess I can still dream,