“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.
Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw
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