Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Newly discovered galaxy cluster in early stage of formation is farthest ever identified

02.04.2008
More than 11 billion light years away, galaxies illuminate evolution of universe

UC Irvine scientists have discovered a cluster of galaxies in a very early stage of formation that is 11.4 billion light years from Earth – the farthest of its kind ever to be detected. These galaxies are so distant that the universe was in its infancy when their light was emitted.

The galaxy proto-cluster, named LBG-2377, is giving scientists an unprecedented look at galaxy formation and how the universe has evolved. Before this discovery, the farthest known event like this was approximately 9 billion light years away.

“When you observe objects this far away, you are actually seeing the universe as it was a very long time ago,” said Jeff Cooke, a McCue Postdoctoral Fellow in physics and astronomy at UCI and lead author of this study. “It is as if a timeline is just sitting out there in front of you. These galaxies represent what the universe looked like well before the Earth existed.”

This research is reported in the online bulletin astro-ph.

Using the Keck Telescope in Hawaii, Cooke detected LBG-2377 while looking for single galaxies. At first, it appeared to be a bright, single object. But after analyzing the wavelengths of its light (galaxies emit light with telltale colors) he discovered it was three galaxies merging together, and likely two additional smaller galaxies.

Scientists use light to look back in time. Because light takes a measurable amount of time to travel, detecting it on Earth today allows scientists to view the source as it was billions of years ago. In the case of LBG-2377, scientists believe the light has been traveling for 11.4 billion years, beginning just a few billion years after the Big Bang when the universe was only 15 percent of its current age. By comparison, the Earth was formed about 4.5 billion years ago.

The process of galaxy formation largely is a mystery. Current theory is that large galaxies formed over time from the interaction and merging of smaller galaxies. This process began more than 12 billion years ago, shortly after the Big Bang. Scientists have observed galaxies merging over a large range of distances and time, providing hard evidence to reinforce the theory. However, using current technology, it is difficult to detect this process at the most extreme distances, when galaxy formation was in its infancy.

Scientists believe galaxy clusters form in a similar manner. As galaxies congregate and interact in large, dense regions of space, the cluster grows with time. Witnessing this process first-hand helps scientists confirm their theory and deepen their understanding of the universe. Galaxy clusters can be detected at extreme distances with current technology because they are bright, but they are difficult to find.

Clusters closer to Earth contain upwards of 1,000 galaxies. Our Milky Way galaxy belongs to a lesser grouping of galaxies called the Local Group, which contains more than 35 galaxies, but only a few bright ones.

“We believe LBG-2377 is a seed that eventually will grow into a massive galaxy cluster,” said James Bullock, director of the Center for Cosmology at UCI and a study co-author.

“Our finding suggests that this is a monster structure being born in a very bright, catastrophic event with a lot of gas and matter collapsing at once,” Bullock said. “We are not just seeing one solitary galaxy. We are seeing a bunch of bright galaxies coming together at the dawn of structure formation in the universe.”

Scientists Elizabeth Barton and Kyle Stewart of UCI, along with Arthur Wolfe of the University of California, San Diego, worked on this study. The research was funded by a Gary McCue Postdoctoral Fellowship and the National Science Foundation.

About the University of California, Irvine: The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 27,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and nearly 2,000 faculty members. The third-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3.6 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

News Radio: UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. The use of this line is available free-of-charge to radio news programs/stations who wish to interview UCI faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is subject to availability and approval by the university.

Jennifer Fitzenberger | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uci.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms
17.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht New functional principle to generate the „third harmonic“
16.02.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>