Meet Akira and Tetsuo, Perfectly Named Partner Galaxies

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Why do galaxies that have absorbed gases at a rapid rate and have previously produce an impressive amount of stars suddenly stop? This has been a question on the minds of astronomers for a long time, but a team headed by young scientist Edmond Cheung has figured it out. Cheung is an astronomer interested in the correlation between galaxy structure and galaxy evolution. He’s also a huge anime fan. Recently, he had the opportunity combine his two loves by solving this particular space riddle.

What scientists discovered is that gases from one galaxy are often feeding the rapid winds of a supermassive black hole in a companion galaxy. The gas-sucking galaxies are called red geysers, and Cheung named a recently-found example of these stellar gas gobblers Akira, after the famed manga and its resulting anime. Its nearby galaxy is conveniently named, Tetsuo. Cheung discusses exactly what’s occurring with these two galaxies and why stars can’t be created.

“The winds travel as fast as 124 miles per second which heat up Akira and prevents it from forming new stars. Gas and gravity are usually enough for a galaxy to create a star, but the heat prevents the gas from clumping together first.”

In addition to Cheung naming whole galaxies after famous anime characters, he created a new component mapping survey for the galactic mapping company, Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), called Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory (MaNGA).

How dope  is that?! Getting the opportunity to name galaxies, and naming your own space map after one of your favorite personal pastimes. Cheung’s reasoning for the names is rooted in the story of Akira, who is an all powerful young boy with psychokinetic powers. Akira eventually consumes Tetsuo and drains him of his powers, destroying half of neo-Toyko in the process. If you see the anime film in full, you’ll see why Edmond Cheung chose those names.

Do you know of any other space anomalies named after famed anime characters? If so, leave your comments below!

Images via Kvali ipmu

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