Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Leaky, Star-Forming Galaxies Lead Johns Hopkins Researchers to Better Understand the Universe


Focusing on large, star-forming galaxies, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University were able to measure radiation leaks in an effort to better understand how the universe evolved as the first stars were formed.

Sanchayeeta Borthakur, an assistant research scientist in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the university’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, reports in a paper published online Oct. 9 in the journal Science that an indicator used for studying star-forming galaxies that leak radiation is an effective measurement tool for other scientists to use.

Borthakur wrote the paper with Timothy Heckman, the Dr. A. Hermann Pfund Professor and director of the Center for Astrophysical Sciences at Johns Hopkins, along with co-authors Claus Leitherer from the Space Telescope Science Institute and Roderik Overzier from the Observatorio Nacional in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The researchers used the radiation leak measurement method to help find the ideal star-forming galaxy that contained holes in its cold gas cover. Studying the radiation that seeps through these holes has been a conundrum for scientists for years.

Consisting of thick, dense cold gas, the cover stretches across a galaxy like a blanket. While an effective tool for helping make stars, this cover presents a challenge for astrophysicists hoping to learn how the radiation that stars produce could be used in the ionization process. Scientists have been on a quest for decades to find just the right galaxy with this character trait.

“It’s like the ozone layer, but in reverse,” Borthakur said. “The ozone layer protects us from the sun’s radiation but we want the gas cover the other way around. The star forming regions in galaxies are covered with cold gases so the radiation cannot come out. If we can find out how the radiation gets out of the galaxy, we can learn what mechanisms ionized the universe.”

Borthakur said scientists know that these leaky galaxies exist, but finding one has been a problem. This, in turn, makes it difficult for researchers to have a clearer understanding of how the reionization process works.

For star-gazers, reionization is core to the history of the cosmos as it marks the birth of the very first stars and galaxies.

Moments after the start of the Big Bang, the hot, newly born universe began to expand and quickly cool. Several hundred thousand years later, free proton and electron particles in the universe began to connect to each other and form neutral hydrogen atoms. The neutral gas began to collapse into the first stars and galaxies, which then began to radiate brightly.

Using observations made with the Cosmic Origin Spectrograph onboard the Hubble Space Telescope, the research team found the right galaxy to study. In the study, the researchers credit a combination of unusually strong winds, intense radiation and a massive, highly star-forming galaxy for proving the validity of the indicator.

This method, first created by Heckman in 2001, can sort out what gas is present and also accurately measure the percentage of holes in the gas cover, said Borthakur.

“The confirmation of the indicator is key,” she said. “The implications are now people can use this indicator to study distant galaxies at longer wavelengths.”

This research was funded by NASA with grant number 12886.

Tracey Reeves | newswise
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht First results of NSTX-U research operations
26.10.2016 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

nachricht Scientists discover particles similar to Majorana fermions
25.10.2016 | Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters

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: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>