Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Astronomers find hundreds of young, distant galaxy clusters

07.06.2006


Astronomers have found the largest number of the most distant, youngest galaxy clusters yet, a feat that will help them observe the developing universe when it was less than half its current age and still in its formative stages.



The team of astronomers from the University of Florida, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has found nearly 300 new galaxy clusters and groups, including nearly 100 at distances of eight to 10 billion light years. The new sample, a six-fold increase in the number of known clusters and groups at such extreme distances, will allow astronomers to study very young galaxies two-thirds of the way back to when the universe is believed to have originated in the Big Bang.

The team will present its findings today in Calgary, Canada, at the American Astronomical Society’s biannual meeting.


Anthony Gonzalez, an assistant professor of astronomy at UF and one of the team of astronomers who made the discovery, likened the view of the clusters to a glimpse at the Los Angeles basin when it was still home only to a collection of dusty, small towns. By knowing what the clusters looked like eight to 10 billion years ago, the astronomers will have a better idea of where and when the first stars and galaxies formed and how they grew and changed over the universe’s full 13.7 billion- year lifespan.

“It would be like taking a snapshot of cities as they were near the beginning,” he said. “You’re watching everything fall together, so you can see some of the pieces, some of the little towns, before they become part of a giant city.”

Galaxy clusters are among the universe’s most dense places, similar to cities on Earth, and a single galaxy cluster can contain hundreds of large galaxies similar to our Milky Way.

The most massive, oldest galaxies tend to be found in galaxy clusters. This makes clusters the best place to look to determine when the first stars formed and how these galaxies grew with time. While individual galaxy clusters have previously been found at similar distances, this is the first time that such a large number of galaxy clusters has been detected so far away.

Gonzalez said the astronomers’ key step in finding the large number of clusters was to merge infrared data from NASA’s Spitzer Space telescope with existing deep optical imaging obtained by National Optical Astronomy Observatory Deep Wide-Field Survey team at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona.

The team used the Spitzer telescope to make infrared mosaics, a process that was thousands of times faster than with the biggest ground-based telescopes because of the Spitzer telescope’s unique capabilities. The combined Kitt Peak and Spitzer data provided information on the distances to the galaxies, enabling the astronomers to weed out small, nearby galaxies whose light was cluttering the view between the observers and the most distant clusters. Gonzalez’s main role was to analyze the maps of massive galaxies and detect the hidden galaxy clusters.

“We’re basically getting rid of all the junk to isolate the most distant, massive galaxies,” Gonzalez said.

The research will allow astronomers to embark on several new studies, said Mark Brodwin, an astronomer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the lead investigator on the team.

“Clusters of galaxies are the repositories of the most massive galaxies in the universe,” he said. “As such, our survey serves as an ideal laboratory in which to study the process of massive galaxy formation over the last two-thirds of the lifetime of the universe.”

The next step is to study the newly discovered galaxies in detail, Brodwin said. Astronomers want to learn more about their size, shape, mass and the rate at which they form new stars and merge together to form larger galaxies. “These key measurements will improve our fundamental understanding of the galaxy formation process,” he said.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, based in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, also in Pasadena. JPL is a division of Caltech.

Anthony Gonzalez | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ufl.edu
http://www.astro.ufl.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht MSU astronomers discovered supermassive black hole in an ultracompact dwarf galaxy
14.08.2018 | Lomonosov Moscow State University

nachricht ASU astrophysicist helps discover that ultrahot planets have starlike atmospheres
13.08.2018 | Arizona State University

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 interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Building up' stretchable electronics to be as multipurpose as your smartphone

14.08.2018 | Information Technology

During HIV infection, antibody can block B cells from fighting pathogens

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

First study on physical properties of giant cancer cells may inform new treatments

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>