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 SF State astronomer searches for signs of life on Wolf 1061 exoplanet
20.01.2017 | San Francisco State University

nachricht Molecule flash mob
19.01.2017 | Technische Universität Wien

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: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>