Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Astronomers detect stellar ashes at dawn of time

11.04.2002


Using a powerful instrument on a telescope in Hawaii, UK astronomers have found ashes from a generation of stars that died over 10 billion years ago. This is the first time that the tell-tale cosmic dust has been detected at such an early stage in the evolution of the universe.

Dr. Kate Isaak of Cambridge University will be announcing these exciting new results at the National Astronomy Meeting in Bristol on 11th April 2002.

Using the SCUBA (Submillimetre Common-User Bolometer Array) camera on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii, the team of British astronomers observed a sample of the most distant quasars known, to detect their primeval `host` galaxies. The submillimetre wavelength radiation detected by SCUBA comes from large amounts of cool dust, a substance formed in supernovae and/or the atmospheres of old stars.



Team leader Dr. Robert Priddey (Imperial College) said "These quasars are the most distant submillimetre sources known. We`re looking more than nine-tenths of the way back to the birth of the universe in the Big Bang."

The quasars are extremely far from us, as measured by their very high redshifts of 5-6. These huge distances mean that their light was emitted when the universe was less than a tenth of its current age -- a mere billion years after the Big Bang. Consequently, the host galaxies are caught when they are extremely young, and when astronomers might expect to see a burst of star formation.

Dr. Priddey explained "It`s amazing enough that these quasars, powered by billion solar mass black holes, should already exist only a billion years after the Big Bang. That these quasars also appear to contain so much dust yields important clues to the formation of massive galaxies in the youthful cosmos."

Although it is not yet known whether the dust in these quasars is heated by hot, young stars within the galaxy, or directly by the quasar itself, the very existence of the dust and its constituent elements such as silicon and carbon implies that a large mass of stars have already been born, grown old and expired, within only a billion years of the Big Bang.

Dr. Isaak said "These observations of very distant quasars are part of a programme looking at the submillimetre emission of quasars from low to high redshift. If we hunt for ever higher redshift quasars, we might catch the epoch at which the first dust forms."

Team member Dr. Richard McMahon (University of Cambridge) added "The stars that made the carbon and silicon in these quasars are probably like the stars that made the carbon in our own bodies. It is very exciting to be able to learn when the chemical elements in our bodies were made. These quasars seem to be forming stars at a rate of around 1000 stars like the Sun per year."

Dr Robert Priddey | alphagalileo

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Discovery of an Extragalactic Hot Molecular Core
29.09.2016 | National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

nachricht Swiss space research reaches for the sky
29.09.2016 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

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: New welding process joins dissimilar sheets better

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of light metals.
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart have now developed two new process variants that will considerably expand the areas of application for friction stir welding.
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Stuttgart in patenting and marketing its innovations.

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of...

Im Focus: First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source

Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.

Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

HLF: From an experiment to an establishment

29.09.2016 | Event News

European Health Forum Gastein 2016 kicks off today

28.09.2016 | Event News

Laser use for neurosurgery and biofabrication - LaserForum 2016 focuses on medical technology

27.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Multiferroic Materials from Building Blocks

29.09.2016 | Materials Sciences

Silicon Fluorescent Material Developed Enabling Observations under a Bright “Biological Optical Window”

29.09.2016 | Materials Sciences

X-shape Bio-inspired Structures

29.09.2016 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>