Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UK Astronomers look forward to looking back

19.08.2003


When NASA launches its Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) - the agency’s fourth ‘Great Observatory’ - later this week, astronomers around the world will be looking forward to using one of the most powerful time machines ever built.



Among those anticipating the opportunity to look back billions of years to an era when the universe was in its youth are Professor Michael Rowan-Robinson (Imperial College London) and Dr. Sebastian Oliver (University of Sussex), who will be participating in the international SIRTF Wide-area InfraRed Extragalactic (SWIRE) survey.

Taking advantage of SIRTF’s ability to detect infrared radiation (heat) from the coolest objects in the universe, the SWIRE team will study galaxies located up to 10 billion light years away where infant stars are beginning to emerge from the dust clouds in which they were born.


Over a period of nine months, the SWIRE survey will observe seven areas of the sky covering a total of 65 square degrees - equivalent to the area taken up by 360 full moons. These areas have been carefully selected because they are exceptionally transparent due to an absence of Galactic dust.

Using all 7 SIRTF wavebands (3.6, 4.5, 5.8, 8, 24, 70 and 160 microns), SWIRE is expected to detect more than 1 million infrared galaxies, many of them dusty, star-forming galaxies that existed when the universe was only about three billion years old.

“We shall be studying star-forming galaxies and quasars at high redshifts, looking far deeper in the infrared than any previous survey,” said Professor Rowan-Robinson, Deputy Principal Investigator for the SWIRE programme.

“By looking back through almost 90% of the universe’s history, we shall be able to look back to a period when star formation was much more frequent than it is today,” he added. “This will enable us to trace the evolution of star formation from very early times.”

“This is the most exciting and the most important project I have ever been involved with,” said Sebastian Oliver, a SWIRE Co-Investigator. “Our infrared survey will be combined with studies by ground-based telescopes (such as the UK Infrared Telescope in Hawaii) and by orbiting observatories, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra and XMM-Newton, that study the universe at other wavelengths.”

“The SWIRE survey will provide our first glimpse of many distant galaxies,” he added.

“Long ago, galaxies were much closer together, and we think that colliding galaxies triggered periods of rapid star birth and quasar activity. We expect to see thousands of colliding galaxies in the ancient universe, and this will help us to explain how galaxies grew and evolved.”

Professor Michael Rowan-Robinson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ras.org.uk/
http://sirtf.caltech.edu/
http://astro.ic.ac.uk/

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor
24.04.2017 | DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)

nachricht New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers
21.04.2017 | California Institute of Technology

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>