Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Largest ever survey of very distant galaxy clusters completed

02.07.2009
UC Riverside astronomer leads international team studying galaxy formation and evolution in early history of the universe

An international team of researchers led by a UC Riverside astronomer has completed the largest ever survey designed to find very distant clusters of galaxies.

Named the Spitzer Adaptation of the Red-sequence Cluster Survey, "SpARCS" detects galaxy clusters using deep ground-based optical observations from the CTIO 4m and CFHT 3.6m telescopes, combined with Spitzer Space Telescope infrared observations.

In a universe which astronomers believe to be 13.7 billion years old, SpARCS is designed to find clusters, snapped as they appeared long ago in time, when the universe was 6 billion years old or younger.

Clusters of galaxies are rare regions of the universe consisting of hundreds of galaxies containing trillions of stars, plus hot gas and mysterious dark matter. Most of the mass in clusters is actually in the form of invisible dark matter which astronomers are convinced exists because of its influence on the orbits of the visible galaxies.

An example of one of the most massive clusters found in the SpARCS survey is shown in the accompanying image. Seen when the universe was a mere 4.8 billion years old, this is also one of the most distant clusters ever discovered. Many similar-color red cluster galaxies can be seen in the image (the green blobs are stars in our own galaxy, The Milky Way).

"We are looking at massive structures very early in the universe's history," said Gillian Wilson, an associate professor of physics and astronomy who leads the SpARCS project.

The SpARCS survey has discovered about 200 new cluster candidates.

"It is very exciting to have discovered such a large sample of these rare objects," Wilson said. "Although we are catching these clusters at early times, we can tell by their red colors that many of the galaxies we are seeing are already quite old. We will be following up this new sample for years to come, to better understand how clusters and their galaxies form and evolve in the early universe."

A summary of the survey and additional images of newly discovered clusters may be found in two companion papers led by Wilson and Adam Muzzin of Yale University, published in the June 20 issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

The SpARCS team consists of Wilson, who joined UCR in 2007, Ricardo Demarco of UCR; Muzzin of Yale University, Conn.; H.K.C. Yee of the University of Toronto, Canada; Mark Lacy and Jason Surace of the Spitzer Science Center/California Institute of Technology; Henk Hoekstra of Leiden University; Michael Balogh and David Gilbank of the University of Waterloo, Canada; Kris Blindert of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Germany; Subhabrata Majumdar of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, India; Jonathan P. Gardner of the Goddard Space Flight Center; Mike Gladders of the University of Chicago; and Carol Lonsdale of the North American ALMA Science Center; Douglas Burke of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; Shelly Bursick of the University of Arkansas; Michelle Doherty, Chris Lidman and Piero Rosati of ESO; Erica Ellingson of the University of Colorado; Amalia Hicks of Michigan State University; Alessandro Rettura of Johns Hopkins University; David Shupe of the Herscel Science Center/California Institute of Technology; Paolo Tozzi of the University of Trieste, Italy; Renbin Yan of the University of Toronto; and Tracy Webb of McGill University, Canada.

This work is based in part on archival data obtained with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under a contract with NASA. This work is also based on observations obtained with The Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, under contract with the National Science Foundation; observations obtained with MegaPrime/MegaCam, a joint project of CFHT and CEA/DAPNIA, at the Canada France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), which is operated by the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada, the Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) of France, and the University of Hawaii; and by observations obtained at the Gemini Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under a cooperative agreement with the NSF on behalf of the Gemini partnership: the National Science Foundation (United States), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (United Kingdom), the National Research Council (Canada), CONICYT (Chile), the Australian Research Council (Australia), Ministério da Ciência e Tecnologia (Brazil) and SECYT (Argentina).

Support for this work was provided, in part, by awards issued by JPL/Caltech, and from Wilson's College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences start-up funds at UCR.

The University of California, Riverside is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment of about 17,000 is expected to grow to 21,000 students by 2020. The campus is planning a medical school and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Graduate Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion. To learn more, visit www.ucr.edu or call (951) UCR-NEWS.

Iqbal Pittalwala | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucr.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Nanostructures taste the rainbow
29.06.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions
28.06.2017 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences

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: Making Waves

Computer scientists use wave packet theory to develop realistic, detailed water wave simulations in real time. Their results will be presented at this year’s SIGGRAPH conference.

Think about the last time you were at a lake, river, or the ocean. Remember the ripples of the water, the waves crashing against the rocks, the wake following...

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nanostructures taste the rainbow

29.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technique unveils 'matrix' inside tissues and tumors

29.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Cystic fibrosis alters the structure of mucus in airways

29.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>