Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Astronomers Expect To Be "Dazled" By Views Of Ancient Universe

06.04.2005


For the last five years, a team of astronomers at the University of Cambridge and the Anglo-Australian Observatory in Sydney, Australia, has been building a special instrument to search for the most distant galaxies in the Universe.



Known as DAZLE (Dark Age Redshift Lyman Explorer), the 21st century “time machine” will be able to look back 12,800 million years to the end of the Dark Ages, when the very first stars were appearing from the gloom that dominated the Universe shortly after the Big Bang.

On Wednesday 6 April, Dr. Richard McMahon (Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge) will be describing to the RAS National Astronomy Meeting in Birmingham the scientific contribution that DAZLE will make. On Thursday, Dr. Ian Parry will speak about the technical challenges of building such a pioneering instrument.


“DAZLE is a special, highly sensitive, imaging instrument that detects infrared light,” said McMahon. “It has been designed to search for galaxies that emit no radiation at optical wavelengths but emit light at infra-red wavelengths that are invisible to the human eye.”

DAZLE is optimised to detect faint emission lines in the spectra of distant galaxies. These lines are very hard to detect because of the intense infrared emission created high in the Earth’s atmosphere. DAZLE uses specially designed filters that block out 99.99% of the glow from the Earth’s atmosphere. Astronomers intend to use DAZLE to detect the most distant galaxies known to humankind by searching for redshifted light emissions from hydrogen gas that has been heated by very hot young stars.

The first observing run with DAZLE is planned to take place later this year on the European Southern Observatory’s 8-metre Very Large Telescope, located in Chile. In this first search, DAZLE will search a narrow window in the sky at an infrared wavelength that corresponds to a redshift of 7.8, equivalent to 12.8 billion light years. This means that the light left these distant galaxies when the Universe was 12.8 billion years younger than it is today - when the Universe was 500 times smaller in volume.

After the search at a redshift of 7.8 is successful, the team then plan to use DAZLE to search for galaxies in another window in the sky emission at a redshift of 8.8, equivalent to a distance of 12.9 billion light years.

“Previous attempts to look back this far in time have so far been unsuccessful, so this could be a groundbreaking observation,” said McMahon.

“At this early time in the history of the Universe, a major change occurred in the gas in the Universe,” he added.

“After the Big Bang, the Universe expanded and cooled down to a temperature of -270C, close to absolute zero. However, since humans exist we know that the Universe must have been heated up again. We shall use DAZLE to try to determine exactly when the Universe was heated up for the second time, during the birth of the first stars.”

"Astronomers believe that this reheating was carried out by ultraviolet light from young hot stars in small galaxies,” explained Dr. Anthony Horton (University of Cambridge). “Stars in these baby galaxies formed some of the chemical elements - such as carbon, nitrogen, and iron - that are in our bodies.”

“DAZLE will be able to detect small, infant galaxies which are giving birth to stars – perhaps one hundredth the size of the Milky Way. DAZLE can detect galaxies which are forming stars at a rate where they are converting a mass of hydrogen and helium equal to the Sun into new stars each year,” said Dr. Ian Parry, another of the Cambridge team.

CONTACTS

On Wednesday 6 April, Dr. McMahon can be contacted via the NAM press office (see above).
On Thursday 7 April, Dr. Parry can be contacted via the NAM press office (see above).

Normal contact details:

Dr. Richard G. McMahon
Institute of Astronomy
University of Cambridge
Madingley Rd
Cambridge, CB3 OHA
Tel: +44-(0)1223-337519 or +44 (0)1223-337516
Mobile: +44-(0)7885-409019
E-mail: rgm@ast.cam.ac.uk

Dr. Ian Parry
Institute of Astronomy
University of Cambridge
Tel: +44-(0)1223-337092
Mobile +44-(0)7968-960344
E-mail: irp@ast.cam.ac.uk

FURTHER INFORMATION AND IMAGES CAN BE FOUND ON THE WEB AT:

University of Cambridge DAZLE web page:
http://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/~rgm/press/2005/dazle-nam2005/

| alfa
Further information:
http://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/~rgm/press/2005/dazle-nam2005/

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 >>>