|After years of passivity, the astronomy community is protesting telescope closings, cramped quarters, and scanty maintenance|
Our understanding of galaxies is at a primitive level, and we are still perplexed by basic questions. For instance:
1. Why do things such as galaxies exist at all, with their observed characteristic dimensions—typically 10^11 stars within radii of about 10^4 parsecs?
2. What is the dark matter that constitutes so large a part of galaxies?We know that more than 9O% of their mass is unaccounted for and that the visible content of galaxies is embedded in a diffuse “halo” of dark matter that may be 10 times as massive.
3. Why do the central nuclei of some galaxies flare up (especially at redshifts z=2) outshining the entire host galaxies, and what remnants of this activity are left behind?
Possible answers are now coming into focus as astrophysicists and cosmologists increasingly concentrate on these...