Discovery of a very extended X-ray halo around a quiescent spiral galaxy – The “missing link” of galaxy formation

K Pedersen, Jesper Rasmussen, J Sommerlarsen, S Toft, A Benson, R Bower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)


Hot gaseous haloes surrounding galaxies and extending well beyond the distribution of stars are a ubiquitous prediction of galaxy formation scenarios. The haloes are believed to consist of gravitationally trapped gas with a temperature of millions of Kelvin. The existence of such hot haloes around massive elliptical galaxies has been established through their X-ray emission. While gas out-flowing from starburst spiral galaxies has been detected, searches for hot haloes around normal, quiescent spiral galaxies have so far failed, casting doubts oil the fundamental physics in galaxy formation models. Here we present the first detection of a hot, large-scale gaseous halo Surrounding a normal, quiescent spiral galaxy, NGC 5746, alleviating a long-standing problem for galaxy formation models. In contrast to starburst galaxies, where the X-ray halo call be powered by the supernova energy, there is no such power source in NGC 5746. The only compelling explanation is that we are here witnessing a galaxy forming from gradually in-flowing hot and dilute halo gas. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-470
Number of pages6
JournalNew Astronomy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2006


  • galaxies : halos
  • galaxies : formation
  • galaxies : individual (NGC 5746, NGC 5170)
  • x-rays : galaxies


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