The Kavli Foundation spoke with three prominent researchers about this and other exciting findings that are moving scientists closer to understanding how the first stars and galaxies formed. This includes the realization that in early times, there were many more small, feeble galaxies than large luminous galaxies.
“If you were to take a space ship and go back to that point in cosmic time, you'd find that the sky is really ablaze with them – so many of them that their combined output is very significant,” said Richard Ellis, Steele Professor of Astronomy at the California Institute of Technology. “These early objects are in fact very, very small – about a tenth the diameter of the Milky Way. And yet, they are forming stars more prodigiously than the galaxy we live in today.”
Discoveries such as these come as scientists focus on studying the gaseous “fingerprints” the early galaxies left on their surroundings – what’s called the intergalactic medium (IGM). “We know from these observations that after about one billion years all of this gas is ionized, and it's the galaxies that we think did this,” said George Becker, Fellow, the Kavli Institute for Cosmology at the University of Cambridge. “The question that we are trying to answer is how and when it happened, and what these earliest galaxies were like.”
Said Avi Loeb, Chair of the Department of Astronomy and Director of the Institute for Theory and Computation, Harvard University, “If we can map the distribution of galaxies and the hydrogen gas between them, in the IGM, we can see the relationship between the places where the galaxies are and the regions that were ionized… [This] gives us indirect evidence for the earliest galaxies. This new technique will enable us to directly study the galaxies that ionized that hydrogen gas.”
And what do researchers ultimately hope to uncover?
“[We] would like to understand how the galaxies that we see around us, including the Milky Way, came into existence,” said Loeb. “It's going back in time to our origins, in a sense. Religious texts try to address these questions, but now we are able to come up with a scientific version of the story of Genesis.”
For the full discussion visit: http://www.kavlifoundation.org/science-spotlights/searching-first-stars
James Cohen | Newswise Science News
Climate cycles may explain how running water carved Mars' surface features
02.12.2016 | Penn State
What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?
02.12.2016 | University of Toronto
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy