Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Primordial galaxy bursts with starry births

13.11.2014

Peering deep into time with one of the world's newest, most sophisticated telescopes, astronomers have found a galaxy - AzTEC-3 - that gives birth annually to 500 times the number of suns as the Milky Way galaxy, according to a new Cornell University-led study published Nov. 10 in the Astrophysical Journal.

Lead author Dominik Riechers, Cornell assistant professor of astronomy, and an international team of researchers gazed back - with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile - over 12.5 billion years to find bustling galaxies creating stars at a breakneck rate.

Today, Earth's Milky Way galaxy produces the equivalent of perhaps two to three new suns a year. The AzTEC-3 galaxy, observed to be emerging from the Big Bang's primordial soup, creates about 1,100 suns a year, corresponding to about three suns each day.

ALMA's remarkable sensitivity and spatial resolution was key to observe this galaxy and others with unprecedented detail in far-infrared/submillimeter wavelength light. It also found, for the first time, star-forming gas in three additional, extremely distant members of an emerging galactic protocluster, which is associated with AzTEC-3.

"The ALMA data reveal that AzTEC-3 is a very compact, highly disturbed galaxy that is bursting with new stars at close to its theoretically predicted maximum limit and is surrounded by a population of more normal, but also actively star-forming galaxies," said Riechers. "This particular grouping of galaxies represents an important milestone in the evolution of our universe - the formation of a galaxy cluster and the early assemblage of large, mature galaxies."

Riechers says that galaxies with this quick rate of star production have been known to exist in the middle-aged universe, say 3 billion to 6 billion years old, but this production is surprising for galaxies in their cosmic infancy. "We expect this out of later galaxies in a more mature universe, but not from one of the earliest," he said.

In the early universe, starburst galaxies like AzTEC-3 formed stars at a frenetic pace, fueled by the copious quantities of material they devoured and by merging with other adolescent galaxies. Over billions of years, according to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, these galactic mergers continued, eventually producing the large galaxies and clusters of galaxies seen in the cosmos today.

"One of the primary science goals of ALMA is the detection and detailed study of galaxies throughout cosmic time," said Chris Carilli, an astronomer with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro, New Mexico. "These new observations help us put the pieces together by showing the first steps of a galaxy merger in the early universe."

The astronomers believe that AzTEC-3 and the other nearby galaxies appear to be part of the same system, but are not yet gravitationally bound into a clearly defined cluster. This is why the astronomers refer to them collectively as a protocluster. "AzTEC-3 is currently undergoing an extreme, but short-lived event," said Riechers. "This is perhaps the most violent phase in its evolution, leading to a star formation activity level that is very rare at its cosmic epoch."

ALMA is a group of radio telescopes partially managed by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. It obtains funding internationally, including from the National Science Foundation.

Images: https://cornell.box.com/aztec3

Syl Kacapyr | EurekAlert!

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL
23.06.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

nachricht Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?
23.06.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

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: 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...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

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

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>