The structures and star populations of massive galaxies appear to change as they age, but much about how these galaxies formed and evolved remains mysterious.
Many of the oldest and most massive galaxies reside in clusters, enormous structures where numerous galaxies are found concentrated together. Galaxy clusters in the early universe are thought to be key to understanding the lifecycles of old galaxies, but to date astronomers have located only a handful of these rare, distant structures.
New research from a team led by Carnegie's Andrew Newman has confirmed the presence of an unusually distant galaxy cluster, JKCS 041. It is published by the Astrophysical Journal.
"Our observations make this galaxy cluster one of the best-studied structures from the early universe," Newman said.
Although the team began studying JKCS 041 in 2006, it has taken years of observing with many of the world's most powerful telescopes to finally confirm its distance.
The team used the Hubble Space Telescope to capture sharp images of the distant cluster and split the starlight from the galaxies into its constituent colors, a technique known as spectroscopy. They found 19 galaxies at precisely the same great distance of 9.9 billion light years, the tell-tale sign of an early galaxy cluster.
A previous study using the Chandra X-ray Observatory discovered X-ray emissions in the location of JKCS 041.
"These X-rays likely originate from hot gas in JKCS 041, which has been heated to a temperature of about 80 million degrees by the gravity of the massive cluster," said team member Stefano Andreon of the Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, who led a companion paper published by Astronomy & Astrophysics, which is available here.
Today the largest and oldest galaxies are found in clusters, but there is a mystery about when and why these giant galaxies stopped forming new stars and became dormant, or quiescent. Peering back to a time when the galaxies in JKCS 041 were only 1 billion years old---or 10 percent of their present age---the team found that most had already entered their quiescent phase.
"Because JKCS 041 is the most-distant known cluster of its size, it gives us a unique opportunity to study these old galaxies in detail and better understand their origins," Newman said.
Once massive galaxies enter their quiescent phase, they continue expanding in overall size. This is thought to occur as galaxies collide with one another and evolve into a new, larger galaxy. Early clusters are suspected to be prime locations for these collisions, but to the team's surprise they found that the galaxies in JKCS 041 were growing at nearly the same rate as non-cluster galaxies.
The international team included Newman, Andreon, Ginevra Trinchieri of the Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, Richard Ellis of Caltech, Tommaso Treu of the University of California at Santa Barbara, and Anand Raichoor of the Observatorie di Paris.
This work was based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. These observations are associated with program number GO-12927, which was supported under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. The work was also supported by the agreement ASI-INAF I/009/10/0 and the Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera.
The Carnegie Institution for Science is a private, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., with six research departments throughout the U.S. Since its founding in 1902, the Carnegie Institution has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and Earth and planetary science.
Drew Newman | Eurek Alert!
NASA scientist suggests possible link between primordial black holes and dark matter
25.05.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
The dark side of the fluffiest galaxies
24.05.2016 | Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC)
Permanent magnets are very important for technologies of the future like electromobility and renewable energy, and rare earth elements (REE) are necessary for their manufacture. The Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg, Germany, has now succeeded in identifying promising approaches and materials for new permanent magnets through use of an in-house simulation process based on high-throughput screening (HTS). The team was able to improve magnetic properties this way and at the same time replaced REE with elements that are less expensive and readily available. The results were published in the online technical journal “Scientific Reports”.
The starting point for IWM researchers Wolfgang Körner, Georg Krugel, and Christian Elsässer was a neodymium-iron-nitrogen compound based on a type of...
In the Beyond EUV project, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen and for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena are developing key technologies for the manufacture of a new generation of microchips using EUV radiation at a wavelength of 6.7 nm. The resulting structures are barely thicker than single atoms, and they make it possible to produce extremely integrated circuits for such items as wearables or mind-controlled prosthetic limbs.
In 1965 Gordon Moore formulated the law that came to be named after him, which states that the complexity of integrated circuits doubles every one to two...
Characterization of high-quality material reveals important details relevant to next generation nanoelectronic devices
Quantum mechanics is the field of physics governing the behavior of things on atomic scales, where things work very differently from our everyday world.
When current comes in discrete packages: Viennese scientists unravel the quantum properties of the carbon material graphene
In 2010 the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for the discovery of the exceptional material graphene, which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms...
The trend-forward world of display technology relies on innovative materials and novel approaches to steadily advance the visual experience, for example through higher pixel densities, better contrast, larger formats or user-friendler design. Fraunhofer ISC’s newly developed materials for optics and electronics now broaden the application potential of next generation displays. Learn about lower cost-effective wet-chemical printing procedures and the new materials at the Fraunhofer ISC booth # 1021 in North Hall D during the SID International Symposium on Information Display held from 22 to 27 May 2016 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.
24.05.2016 | Event News
20.05.2016 | Event News
19.05.2016 | Event News
25.05.2016 | Trade Fair News
25.05.2016 | Life Sciences
25.05.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering