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The Persistent Problem of Spiral Galaxies

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1 Author(s)

The current explanation for spiral galaxies is that density waves in a spiral form rotate through the disks of these galaxies, continually forming new arms of hot bright stars and excited gas. The discussion here shows that many observed properties of spiral galaxies contradict this assumed density wave mechanism. Alternatively, it has been clear since the early 1950's that galaxies characteristically eject material from their nuclei. A number of astronomers have presented evidence that it is those ejections from the central regions of rotating galaxies that are responsible for the spiral arms. The evidence is reviewed and evaluated here, and it is concluded that the form and nature of the arms, their magnetic fields and rotational velocity characteristics, can best be explained by ejections of material, including plasma, from which the spiral arm stars are formed. This conclusion furnishes an answer to the long-standing problem of how the magnetic fields arise in the outer regions of spirals. Perhaps most importantly, the formation and renewal of spiral arms by ejection of plasma does not require them to be in rotation only under the pull of gravitational forces. If rotational energy is transferred to outer regions by ejections, the current interpretation of rotation curves may overestimate masses of spiral galaxies. If the problem of "missing mass" is diminished, so is the necessity for exotic suggestions to account for this undetected matter.

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Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 6 )