Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Glimpse at Early Universe Reveals Surprisingly Mature Galaxies

08.07.2004


Observations challenge standing view of how and when galaxies formed



A rare glimpse back in time into the universe’s early evolution has revealed something startling: mature, fully formed galaxies where scientists expected to discover little more than infants.

“Up until now, we assumed that galaxies were just beginning to form between 8 and 11 billion years ago, but what we found suggests that that is not the case,” said Karl Glazebrook, associate professor of physics and astronomy in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and co-principal author of a paper in the July 8 issue of “Nature.” “It seems that an unexpectedly large fraction of stars in big galaxies were already in place early in the universe’s formation, and that challenges what we’ve believed. We thought massive galaxies came much later.”


Using the Frederick C. Gillett Gemini North Telescope in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, Glazebrook and a multinational team of researchers called the Gemini Deep Deep Survey (GDDS) employed a special technique called the “Nod and Shuffle” to peer into what had traditionally been a cosmological blind spot. Called “the Redshift Desert,” this era – 8 billion to 11 billion years ago, when the universe was only 3 billion to 6 billion years old – has remained relatively unexplored until now, mainly because of the challenges inherent in collecting data from the faintest galactic light ever to be dissected into the rainbow of colors called a spectrum. In all, the team collected and analyzed spectra from 300 galaxies, making it the most complete sample ever taken from the Redshift Desert.

“This was the most comprehensive survey ever done covering the bulk of the galaxies that represent conditions in the early universe,” Glazebrook said. “We expected to find basically zero massive galaxies beyond about 9 billion years ago, because theoretical models predict that massive galaxies form last. Instead, we found highly developed galaxies that just shouldn’t have been there, but are.”

These findings challenge the dominant theory of galactic evolution, which posits that at this early stage, galaxies should have formed from the bottom up, with small pieces crashing together to build small and then ever larger galaxies. Called the “hierarchical model,” this scenario predicts that normal-to-large galaxies such as those studied by GDDS would not yet exist.

“There are obviously some aspects of the early lives of galaxies that we don’t yet completely understand, Glazebrook said. “We do find fewer massive galaxies in the past, but there are still more than we expected. This result is giving us a big clue as to how stars form from invisible gas in the hierarchical model, which is something not well understood under current theories. Some new ingredient is required to make more stars form earlier in the big galaxies. But what that ingredient is, we don’t yet know.”

The GDDS team, which included “Nature” paper co-authors Roberto Abraham from the University of Toronto, Patrick McCarthy from the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and David Crampton of the National Research Council of Canada’s Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, was supported by a grant from the Packard Foundation and by institutional support from the National Science Foundation, Canada’s National Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the United Kingdom’s Particle Physics and Research Council, among others.

| newswise
Further information:
http://www.jhu.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht When helium behaves like a black hole
22.03.2017 | University of Vermont

nachricht Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars
22.03.2017 | International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pulverizing electronic waste is green, clean -- and cold

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars

22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>