Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Infant galaxy found

09.10.2001


Abell 2218, and the area where the infants were found.
© ESA/NASA


Large galaxies bend and magnify light from distant sources, giving us a view back in time.
© ESA/NASA


Cosmic lens magnifies faint galactic building-block.

Astronomers have peered deep into space and time and spotted a baby galaxy. Their results suggest that the tiny star-forming region may have helped to build today’s Universe1.

"We believe this is one of the galactic building-blocks that join together to make larger galaxies," says Konrad Kuijken, of the Kapteyn Institute in Groningen, the Netherlands, a member of the team that found the object. The merging over time of galaxies born just after the Universe began is thought to have made large galaxies, such as our Milky Way.



"This is a significant step towards understanding galaxy formation," says astronomer Rob Kennicutt of the University of Arizona in Tucson. More building-blocks must be found to get to the bottom of it, he says.

The international team had been on the trail of baby galaxies for over a year. Confirming their existence is no easy task. They are small, very far away and give out far less light than telescopes can detect.

To find this one, says Kuijken, "we had to make our own luck". This meant exploiting a phenomenon predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity: gravitational lensing. The vast gravity of very massive objects such as galaxies bends and magnifies, light coming from behind them, much as a glass lens bends light in a telescope.

The team pointed the Hubble Space Telescope and the Hawaii-based Keck telescope towards one such gravitational lens - a massive cluster of nearby galaxies called Abell 2218.

After two lengthy exposures, the team found two faint red blobs representing the light from the baby galaxy magnified more than 30 times and split in two by the gravitational lens.

Concluding that they were looking at a baby galaxy, the discoverers, typically a reserved lot, "literally jumped up and down" with excitement, confesses team member Jean-Paul Kneib of the Mid-Pyrenees Observatory in Toulouse, France.

Measuring the wavelengths and brightness of its light, the team calculate that the baby galaxy is about 200 times smaller than our Galaxy and 13.4 billion light years away. Signatures in this 13.4-billion-year-old light also reveal that the infant was actively making new stars at that time - just 600 million years after the birth of the Universe.

Combined, these characteristics mean the object is most likely to be a galactic building-block. "It’s exactly like what our models predict," says Kuijken.

Kuijken is hopeful that the team will find more such objects. "There are many other galaxy clusters in the sky," he says, and behind some of these giant lenses may lurk more infant galaxies.

References
  1. Name, A.B.Title. Astrophysical Journal Letters, in press (2001).


TOM CLARKE | Nature News Service
Further information:
http://www.nature.com/nsu/011011/011011-4.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials
21.09.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht Magnetic polaron imaged for the first time
19.09.2016 | Aalto University

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: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

Im Focus: Launch of New Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing

At AKL’16, the International Laser Technology Congress held in May this year, interest in the topic of process control was greater than expected. Appropriately, the event was also used to launch the Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing. The group provides a forum for representatives from industry and research to initiate pre-competitive projects and discuss issues such as standards, potential cost savings and feasibility.

In the age of industry 4.0, laser technology is firmly established within manufacturing. A wide variety of laser techniques – from USP ablation and additive...

Im Focus: New laser joining technologies at ‘K 2016’ trade fair

Every three years, the plastics industry gathers at K, the international trade fair for plastics and rubber in Düsseldorf. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will also be attending again and presenting many innovative technologies, such as for joining plastics and metals using ultrashort pulse lasers. From October 19 to 26, you can find the Fraunhofer ILT at the joint Fraunhofer booth SC01 in Hall 7.

K is the world’s largest trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry. As in previous years, the organizers are expecting 3,000 exhibitors and more than...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Experts from industry and academia discuss the future mobile telecommunications standard 5G

23.09.2016 | Event News

ICPE in Graz for the seventh time

20.09.2016 | Event News

Using mathematical models to understand our brain

16.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Chains of nanogold – forged with atomic precision

23.09.2016 | Life Sciences

New leukemia treatment offers hope

23.09.2016 | Health and Medicine

Self-assembled nanostructures hit their target

23.09.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>