Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mining Data Archives Yields Haul of "Red Nuggets"

12.06.2014

The world of astronomy has changed. An astronomer used to have to travel to a remote location and endure long, cold nights, patiently guiding a telescope to collect precious photons of light. Now, a proliferation of online archives allows astronomers to make discoveries from the comfort of their own offices.

By mining such archives, a team of astronomers led by Ivana Damjanov of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) has found a treasure trove of "red nugget" galaxies.These galaxies are compact and densely packed with old, red stars.

Their abundance provides new constraints on theoretical models of galaxy formation and evolution.s research today at a meeting of the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA) in Quebec, QC.When the universe was young, dense, massive galaxies nicknamed "red nuggets" were common.

These galaxies are ten times more massive than the Milky Way, but their stars are packed into a volume a hundred times smaller than our Galaxy.Mysteriously, astronomers searching the older, nearer universe could not find any of these objects.Their apparent disappearance, if real, signaled a surprising turn in galaxy evolution.

To find nearby examples, Damjanov and her colleagues Margaret Geller, Ho Seong Hwang, and Igor Chilingarian (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory) combed through the database of the largest survey of the universe, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.The red nugget galaxies are so small that they appear like stars in Sloan photographs, due to blurring from Earth’s atmosphere.

However, their spectra give away their true nature.The team identified several hundred red nugget candidates in the Sloan data.Then they searched a variety of online telescope archives in order to confirm their findings. In particular, high-quality images from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope showed that about 200 of the candidates were galaxies very similar to their red-nugget cousins in the distant, young universe.

"Now we know that many of these amazingly small, dense, but massive galaxies survive. They are a fascinating test of our understanding of the way galaxies form and evolve," explains Geller.The large number of red nuggets discovered in Sloan told the team how abundant those galaxies were in the middle-aged universe.

That number then can be compared to computer models of galaxy formation. Different models for the way galaxies grow predict very different abundances.The picture that matches the observations is one where red nuggets begin their lives as very small objects in the young universe. During the next ten billion years some of them collide and merge with other, smaller and less massive galaxies.

Some red nuggets manage to avoid collisions and remain compact as they age.The result is a variety of elliptical galaxies with different sizes and masses, some very compact and some more extended."Many processes work together to shape the rich landscape of galaxies we see in the nearby universe," says Damjanov.Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) is a joint collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory. CfA scientists, organized into six research divisions, study the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the universe.

For more information, contact:


David A. Aguilar
Director of Public Affairs
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
617-495-7462
daguilar@cfa.harvard.edu

Christine Pulliam
Public Affairs Specialist
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
617-495-7463
cpulliam@cfa.harvard.edu

Leslie Sage
Canadian Astronomical Society
301-675-8957
cascapressofficer@gmail.com

Christine Pulliam | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/news/2014-15

Further reports about: Archives Astronomical Harvard-Smithsonian Observatory Telescope galaxies

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Winds a quarter the speed of light spotted leaving mysterious binary systems
29.04.2016 | University of Cambridge

nachricht Possible Extragalactic Source of High-Energy Neutrinos
28.04.2016 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

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: Tiny microbots that can clean up water

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute Stuttgart have developed self-propelled tiny ‘microbots’ that can remove lead or organic pollution from contaminated water.

Working with colleagues in Barcelona and Singapore, Samuel Sánchez’s group used graphene oxide to make their microscale motors, which are able to adsorb lead...

Im Focus: ORNL researchers discover new state of water molecule

Neutron scattering and computational modeling have revealed unique and unexpected behavior of water molecules under extreme confinement that is unmatched by any known gas, liquid or solid states.

In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory describe a new tunneling state of...

Im Focus: Bionic Lightweight Design researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute at Hannover Messe 2016

Honeycomb structures as the basic building block for industrial applications presented using holo pyramid

Researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) will introduce their latest developments in the field of bionic lightweight design at Hannover Messe from 25...

Im Focus: New world record for fullerene-free polymer solar cells

Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). This work is about avoiding costly and unstable fullerenes.

Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin glass is up and coming

As one of the leading R&D partners in the development of surface technologies and organic electronics, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP will be exhibiting its recent achievements in vacuum coating of ultra-thin glass at SVC TechCon 2016 (Booth 846), taking place in Indianapolis / USA from May 9 – 13.

Fraunhofer FEP is an experienced partner for technological developments, known for testing the limits of new materials and for optimization of those materials...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

The “AC21 International Forum 2016” is About to Begin

27.04.2016 | Event News

Soft switching combines efficiency and improved electro-magnetic compatibility

15.04.2016 | Event News

Grid-Supportive Buildings Give Boost to Renewable Energy Integration

12.04.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Winds a quarter the speed of light spotted leaving mysterious binary systems

29.04.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Fiber optic biosensor-integrated microfluidic chip to detect glucose levels

29.04.2016 | Health and Medicine

A cell senses its own curves: New research from the MBL Whitman Center

29.04.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>