In his talk at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting in Belfast on Tuesday 1 April, team member Dr Scott Chapman from the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge will present observations of five of these galaxies that are forming stars at a tremendous rate and have large reservoirs of gas that will power the star formation for hundreds of millions of years. Dr Chapman’s work is supported by a parallel study made by PhD student Caitlin Casey, who finds that the star formation in the new galaxies is distributed over a vast area.
The galaxies are so distant that the light we detect from them has been travelling for more than 10 billion years. This means that we see them as they were about a three billion years after the Big Bang. The recent discovery of a new type of extremely luminous galaxy in this epoch - one that is very faint in visible light, but much brighter at longer, radio wavelengths - is the key to the new results.
A related type of galaxy was first found in 1997 (but not well understood until 2003) using a new and much more sensitive camera that detects radiation emitted at submillimetre wavelengths (longer than the wavelengths of visible light that we see with but somewhat shorter than radio waves). The camera, called `SCUBA' was attached to the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT), on Mauna Kea in Hawaii.
In 2004 the Cambridge-led team of astronomers proposed that these distant "submillimetre-galaxies" might only represent half of the picture of rapid star formation in the early Universe, as SCUBA is biased towards colder objects. They suggested that a population of similar galaxies with slightly hotter temperatures could exist but have gone largely unnoticed.
The team of scientists searched for the missing galaxies using observatories around the world: the MERLIN array in the UK, the Very Large Array (VLA) in the US (both radio observatories), the Keck optical telescope on Hawaii and the Plateau de Bure submillimetre observatory in France. The instruments found and pinpointed the galaxies, measured their distances and then confirmed their star forming nature through the detection of the vastly extended gas and dust.
The new galaxies have prodigious rates of star formation, far higher than anything seen in the present-day Universe. They probably developed after the first stars and galaxies had already formed in what would have been a perfectly smooth Universe. None the less, studying these new objects gives astronomers an insight into the earliest epochs of star formation after the Big Bang.
With the new discovery, the Cambridge astronomers have provided a much more accurate census of some of the most extreme galaxies in the Universe at the peak of their activity. Future observations will investigate the details of the galaxies’ power source and try to establish how they will develop once their intense bursts of activity come to an end.
IMAGES AND FURTHER INFORMATIONImages and movie
NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth
17.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Pluto's hydrocarbon haze keeps dwarf planet colder than expected
16.11.2017 | University of California - Santa Cruz
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses