Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A Galaxy From The Universe’s Nursery

20.09.2012
The galaxy designated MACS1149-JD1 was created less than 500 million years after the Big Bang
An international team of researchers that includes astrophysicists of Heidelberg University has discovered a galaxy straight from the nursery of the universe. MACS1149-JD1 was created less than 500 million years after the Big Bang, making it the most remote galaxy ever to be observed. The discovery was made possible by a natural phenomenon known as “gravitational lens” that enhances the brightness of astronomical objects. The findings will be published in “Nature” on 20 September 2012.

Our universe came into being approx. 13.7 billion years ago with a Big Bang. 400 to 500 million years later, conditions in the cosmos allowed for the formation of the first stars. “There was almost no hope of ever receiving a signal from any object of this time period; if there already were galaxies back then, their brightness would be far weaker than the light of a candle on the moon. There’s no telescope on earth that would be able to discover such an object”, explains Prof. Dr. Matthias Bartelmann of Heidelberg University’s Centre for Astronomy (ZAH).

The natural luminosity enhancer that helped researchers discover the galaxy consists of dark matter, so called because it can only be perceived indirectly, e.g. by its light-attracting properties. Galaxy clusters in which hundreds or thousands of galaxies move in a relatively small space contain large amounts of dark matter. If such a galaxy cluster with its dark matter is located at a certain distance from Earth, it acts like a magnifying lens – it makes objects located behind it appear larger and brighter by bundling their light. It is this effect of the gravitational lens that led to the discovery of MACS1149-JD1.

“Galaxies going through an intensive phase of star formation show a certain distinctive and characteristic gradation in their spectral energy distribution. We can detect this gradation by observing a galaxy through a telescope with different filters“, states Dr. Adi Zitrin, who is part of Prof. Bartelmann’s work group. However, the gradation shifts in just as characteristic a manner depending on how far away the galaxy is. In the case of MACS1149-JD1 this shift, known as redshift, has a value of 9.6. According to the Heidelberg scientists, this puts the galaxy at a distance which light has covered within 13.2 billion years.

Essential clues that led to the discovery of MACS1149-JD1 were provided by a method of analysis also developed at the ZAH. This method has scientists measuring the distortion of the telescope images of galaxies located far behind the galaxy clusters, a distortion that is caused by the large amount of invisible dark matter in the clusters. In the case of MACS1149+22, the researchers detected a total of seven background galaxies whose image was enhanced, distorted and split into 23 multiple images by the gravitational effect of the galaxy cluster. This enabled the team to predict the location of a light-enhanced galaxy at a redshift of 9.6. The scientists concluded that the galaxy must have formed as early as 490 million years after the Big Bang.

At the heart of this research are images provided by the Hubble space telescope that has been closely observing certain galaxy clusters since 2010. Headed by Prof. Dr. Wei Zheng from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, the project counts research teams from Chile, China, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Taiwan, the UK and the U.S. among its contributors. In Germany, this project is supported by the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung.

Note for news desks:
Digital photos are available from the press office.

Original publication:
W. Zheng, M. Postman, A. Zitrin, J. Moustakas, X. Shu, S. Jouvel, O. Host, A. Molino, L. Bradley, D. Coe, L. A. Moustakas, M. Carrasco, H. Ford, N. Benitez, T. R. Lauer, S. Seitz, R. Bouwens, A. Koekemoer, E. Medezinski, M. Bartelmann, T. Broadhurst, M. Donahue, C. Grillo, L. Infante, S. W. Jha, D. D. Kelson, O. Lahav, D. Lemze, P. Melchior, M. Meneghetti, J. Merten, M. Nonino, S. Ogaz, P. Rosati, K. Umetsu, A. van der Wel: A highly magnified candidate for a young galaxy seen when the Universe was about 500 Myr old, Nature (20 September 2012), doi10.1038/nature11446

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Matthias Bartelmann, Dr. Adi Zitrin
Centre for Astronomy of Heidelberg University (ZAH)
Phone +49 (0) 6221 54-4817/-8987
bartelmann@uni-heidelberg.de

Communications and Marketing
Press Office, phone +49 (0) 6221 54-2311
presse@rektorat.uni-heidelberg.de

Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-heidelberg.de

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'
23.02.2017 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

nachricht Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars
22.02.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>