Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists discover 'catastrophic event' behind the halt of star birth in early galaxy formation

10.03.2010
Scientists have found evidence of a catastrophic event they believe was responsible for halting the birth of stars in a galaxy in the early Universe.

The researchers, led by Durham University's Department of Physics, observed the massive galaxy as it would have appeared just three billion years after the Big Bang when the Universe was a quarter of its present age.

According to their findings the galaxy exploded in a series of blasts trillions of times more powerful than any caused by an atomic bomb. The blasts happened every second for millions of years, the scientists said.

The explosions scattered the gas needed to form new stars by helping it escape the gravitational pull of the galaxy called SMM J1237+6203, effectively regulating its growth, the scientists added.

They believe the huge surge of energy was caused by either the outflow of debris from the galaxy's black hole or from powerful winds generated by dying stars called supernovae.

The research, funded by the Royal Society and the Royal Astronomical Society, is published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Observations were carried out using the Gemini Observatory's Near-Infrared Integral Field Spectrometer (NIFS).

The Durham-led team hopes the finding could increase understanding about the formation and development of galaxies.

Properties seen in massive galaxies near to our own Milky Way suggest that a major event rapidly turned off star formation in early galaxies and halted their expansion.

Theorists, including scientists at Durham University, have argued that this could be due to outflows of energy blowing galaxies apart and preventing further new stars from forming, but evidence of this has been lacking until now.

Lead author Dr Dave Alexander, of Durham University's Department of Physics, said: "We are looking into the past and seeing a catastrophic event that essentially switched off star formation and halted the growth of a typical massive galaxy in the local Universe.

"Effectively the galaxy is regulating its growth by preventing new stars from being born. Theorists had predicted that huge outflows of energy were behind this activity, but it's only now that we have seen it in action.

"We believe that similar huge outflows are likely to have stopped the growth of other galaxies in the early Universe by blowing away the materials needed for star formation."

The Durham-led team now plans to study other massive star-forming galaxies in the early Universe to see if they display similar characteristics.

Durham University is part of a team building the K-Band Multi-Object Spectrometer (KMOS) for the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Very Large Telescope. KMOS will be used to further investigate the physical and environmental processes that shape the formation and evolution of galaxies.

Leighton Kitson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.durham.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Basque researchers turn light upside down
23.02.2018 | Elhuyar Fundazioa

nachricht Attoseconds break into atomic interior
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik

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: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>