Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Intense heat killed the Universe's would-be galaxies

02.07.2009
Our Milky Way galaxy only survived because it was already immersed in a large clump of dark matter which trapped gases inside it, scientists led by Durham University's Institute for Computational Cosmology (ICC) found.

The research, to be presented at an international conference today (Wednesday, July 1), also forms a core part of a new ICC movie charting the evolution of the Milky Way to be shown at the Royal Society.

The researchers said that the early Milky Way, which had begun forming stars, held on to the raw gaseous material from which further stars would be made. This material would otherwise have been evaporated by the high temperatures generated by the "ignition" of the Universe about half-a-billion years after the Big Bang.

Tiny galaxies, inside small clumps of dark matter, were blasted away by the heat which reached approximate temperatures of between 20,000 and 100,000 degrees centigrade, the scientists, including experts at Japan's University of Tsukuba, said.

Dark matter is thought to make up 85 per cent of the Universe's mass and is believed to be one of the building blocks of galaxy formation.

Using computer simulations carried out by the international Virgo Consortium (which is led by Durham) the scientists examined why galaxies like the Milky Way have so few companion galaxies or satellites.

Astronomers have found a few dozen small satellites around the Milky Way, but the simulations revealed that hundreds of thousands of small clumps of dark matter should be orbiting our galaxy.

The scientists said the heat from the early stars and black holes rendered this dark matter barren and unable to support the development of satellite star systems.

The findings will be presented to The Unity of the Universe conference to be held at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, at the University of Portsmouth on Wednesday, July 1. The work has been funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science.

The simulations also form part of a new ICC movie – called Our Cosmic Origins – which combines ground-breaking simulations with observations of galaxies to track the evolution of the Milky Way over the 13-billion-year history of the Universe.

The movie is part of the ICC's exhibit at The Royal Society's annual Summer Science Exhibition which runs until this Saturday (July 4).

Joint lead investigator Professor Carlos Frenk, Director of the Institute for Computational Cosmology, at Durham University, said: "The validity of the standard model of our Universe hinges on finding a satisfactory explanation for why galaxies like the Milky Way have so few companions.

"The simulations show that hundreds of thousands of small dark matter clumps should be orbiting the Milky Way, but they didn't form galaxies.

"We can demonstrate that it was almost impossible for these potential galaxies to survive the extreme heat generated by the first stars and black holes.

"The heat evaporated gas from the small dark matter clumps, rendering them barren. Only a few dozen front-runners which had a head start on making stars before the Universe ignited managed to survive."

By providing a natural explanation for the origin of galaxies, the simulations support the view that cold dark matter is the best candidate for the mysterious material believed to make up the majority of our Universe, the scientists added.

It is now up to experimental physicists to either find this dark matter directly or to make it in a particle accelerator such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Professor Frenk, added: "Identifying the dark matter is not only one of the most pressing problems in science today, but also the key to understanding the formation of galaxies."

Joint lead investigator Dr Takashi Okamoto from the University of Tsukuba said: "These are still early days in trying to make realistic galaxies in a computer, but our results are very encouraging."

Leighton Kitson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.durham.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Tracing aromatic molecules in the early universe
23.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside

nachricht New study maps space dust in 3-D
23.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>