A Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory astrophysicist, in collaboration with international researchers, has found evidence for the synchronous formation of massive, luminous elliptical galaxies in young galaxy clusters.
The forming galaxies were detected at sub-millimeter wavelengths. Emission at these wavelengths is due to dust from young stars that is heated by the stars or by active black holes. The galaxies were grouped around high-red shift radio galaxies, the most massive systems known, suggesting that they all formed at approximately the same time.
In the present universe, the most massive galaxies are elliptical galaxies, which are found in the centers of rich galaxy clusters. The stars in these galaxies are now old, and must have formed at much earlier times. The enormous bursts of star formation that build these galaxies produce large quantities of dust that can be observed at submillimeter wavelengths.
Anne Stark | EurekAlert!
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