Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Baby galaxies grew up quickly

May 17, 2012
Baby galaxies from the young Universe more than 12 billion years ago evolved faster than previously thought, shows new research from the Niels Bohr Institute. This means that already in the early history of the Universe, there was potential for planet formation and life. The research results have been published in the scientific journal, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters.

For several thousand years after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago, the Universe consisted of a hot, dense primordial soup of gases and particles. But the Universe was expanding rapidly and the primordial soup became less dense and cooled. However, the primordial soup was not evenly distributed, but was denser in some areas than others. The density in some of the densest areas increased due to gravity and began to contract, forming the first stars and galaxies. This took place approximately 500 million years after the Big Bang.

The earliest galaxies were probably comprised of primitive, giant stars that consisted of only hydrogen and helium. There were no heavier elements. They first appeared later in the evolution of the Universe, created by nuclear processes in the stars.

Cosmic cycle

A star is a giant ball of glowing gas that produces energy by fusing hydrogen and helium into heavier and heavier elements. When no more energy can be extracted the star dies and massive clouds of dust and gas are flung out into space. These large clouds are condensed and recycled into new stars in a gigantic cosmic cycle. The new stars that are formed will have a higher content of heavier elements than the previous and for each generation of star formation there are more and more of the heavy elements and metals. And heavy elements (especially carbon and oxygen) are necessary for the formation of planets and life, as we know it.

Up until now, researchers thought that it had taken billions of years for stars to form and with that, galaxies with a high content of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. But new research from the Niels Bohr Institute shows that this process went surprisingly quickly in some galaxies.

"We have studied 10 galaxies in the early Universe and analysed their light spectra. We are observing light from the galaxies that has been on a 10-12 billion year journey to Earth, so we see the galaxies as they were then. Our expectation was that they would be relatively primitive and poor in heavier elements, but we discovered somewhat to our surprise that the gas in some of the galaxies and thus the stars in them had a very high content of heavier elements. The gas was just as enriched as our own Sun," explains Professor Johan Fynbo from the Dark Cosmology Centre at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.

Lighthouses of the Universe

The galaxies are so far away that you normally do not have the opportunity to observe them directly, but the researchers have used a special method.

"There are some extreme objects in the Universe called quasars. Quasars are gigantic black holes that are active and when matter falls into them, they emit light that is as strong as thousands of galaxies. They are like a kind of lighthouse that lights up in the Universe and can be seen very far away," explains Jens-Kristian Krogager, PhD student at the Dark Cosmology Centre at the Niels Bohr Institute, University Copenhagen. He explains that in order to use quasars as light sources the quasar must lie behind the galaxy you want to observe.

"We then look at the light from the quasar and can see that some light is missing. The missing quasar light in the image has been absorbed by the chemical elements in the galaxy in front of it. By analysing the spectral lines we can see which elements there are and by measuring the strength of each line we can see the amount of the elements," explains Jens-Kristian Krogager.

Life in the early Universe

They discovered not only that the galaxies from the very early Universe had a surprisingly large quantity of heavier elements, but also that one of the galaxies in particular was especially interesting.

"For one of the galaxies, we observed the outer regions and here there was also a high element content. This suggests that large parts of the galaxy are enriched with a high content of heavier elements and that means that already in the early history of the Universe there was potential for planet formation and life," says Johan Fynbo.

###

http://www.nbi.ku.dk/english/news/news11/baby_galaxies_grew_up_quickly/

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-3933.2012.01272.x/abstract

University of Copenhagen


Related Galaxies Current Events and Galaxies News Articles


First signs of self-interacting dark matter?
Using the MUSE instrument on ESO's VLT in Chile, along with images from Hubble in orbit, a team of astronomers studied the simultaneous collision of four galaxies in the galaxy cluster Abell 3827.

Potential signs of 'interacting' dark matter suggest it is not completely dark after all
Astronomers believe they might have observed the first potential signs of dark matter interacting with a force other than gravity.

Dark Energy Survey creates detailed guide to spotting dark matter
Scientists on the Dark Energy Survey have released the first in a series of dark matter maps of the cosmos.

Search for advanced civilizations beyond Earth finds nothing obvious in 100,000 galaxies
After searching 100,000 galaxies for signs of highly advanced extraterrestrial life, a team of scientists using observations from NASA's WISE orbiting observatory has found no evidence of advanced civilizations in them.

Accelerating universe? Not so fast
Certain types of supernovae, or exploding stars, are more diverse than previously thought, a University of Arizona-led team of astronomers has discovered.

Our Sun came late to the Milky Way's star-birth party
In one of the most comprehensive multi-observatory galaxy surveys yet, astronomers find that galaxies like our Milky Way underwent a stellar "baby boom," churning out stars at a prodigious rate, about 30 times faster than today.

Hubble finds ghosts of quasars past
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has imaged a set of enigmatic quasar ghosts -- ethereal green objects which mark the graves of these objects that flickered to life and then faded.

Hubble finds phantom objects near dead quasars
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has photographed a set of wispy, goblin-green objects that are the ephemeral ghosts of quasars that flickered to life and then faded.

Astronomers discover likely precursors of galaxy clusters we see today
By combining observations of the distant Universe made with ESA's Herschel and Planck space observatories, cosmologists have discovered what could be the precursors of the vast clusters of galaxies that we see today.

Planck: An 'unfocused' eye that sees the big picture
"Planck detects, then Herschel analyzes". That's how Gianfranco De Zotti, professor at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste and at INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Padova, summarizes the rationale of the study just published in Astronomy & Astrophysics.
More Galaxies Current Events and Galaxies News Articles

Galaxy: Mapping the Cosmos

Galaxy: Mapping the Cosmos
by James Geach (Author)


Each night, we are able to gaze up at the night sky and look at the thousands of stars that stretch to the end of our individual horizons. But the stars we see are only those that make up our own Milky Way galaxy—but one of hundreds of billions in the whole of the universe, each separated  by inconceivably huge tracts of empty space. In this book, astronomer James Geach tells the rich stories of both the evolution of galaxies and our ability to observe them, offering a fascinating history of how we’ve come to realize humanity’s tiny place in the vast universe.
           
Taking us on a compelling tour of the state-of-the-art science involved in mapping the infinite, Geach offers a first-hand account of both the science itself and how it is done, describing what...

Galaxies (The Quaint and Quizzical Cosmos)

Galaxies (The Quaint and Quizzical Cosmos)


The goal of The Quaint and Quizzical Cosmos series is to introduce deep human history to kids in a fun and whimsical way. This second book, The Quaint and Quizzical Cosmos: Galaxies, exposes kids to the wonders of The Milky Way and opens a doorway leading to imaginative exploration of the possible effects of black holes, dark energy, and dark matter.

Galaxies

Galaxies
by Seymour Simon (Author)


This close-up look at our own Milky Way and other enormous clusters of stars describes the many different types of galaxies, how they were formed, and how they got their different shapes. "A dazzling photo-essay."--School Library Journal.

Galaxies, Galaxies!

Galaxies, Galaxies!
by Gail Gibbons (Author)


Planet Earth is in the Milky Way Galaxy, the cloudy band of light that stretches clear across the night sky. How many galaxies are there in the universe? For years astronomers thought that the Milky Way was the universe. Now we know that there are billions of them. Gail Gibbons takes the reader on a journey light-years away.

Galaxies (True Books: Space)

Galaxies (True Books: Space)
by Howard K. Trammel (Author)


Book annotation not available for this title.
Title: Galaxies
Author: Trammel, Howard K.
Publisher: Scholastic Library Pub
Publication Date: 2010/03/01
Number of Pages: 48
Binding Type: PAPERBACK
Library of Congress: 2008051268

Galaxies: A Very Short Introduction

Galaxies: A Very Short Introduction
by John Gribbin (Author)


In this fascinating Very Short Introduction, popular science writer John Gribben tells the story of our growing understanding of galaxies, from the days before Galileo to our present-day observations of our many hundreds of millions of galactic neighbors. Not only are galaxies fascinating astronomical structures in themselves, but their study has revealed much of what we know today about the cosmos, providing a window on the Big Bang and the origins of the Universe. Gribben looks at our own "Milky Way" Galaxy in detail, from the different kinds of stars that are born within it, to the origins of its magnificent spiral structure. Perhaps most interesting, Gribben describes the many exciting discoveries have been made about our own galaxy and about those beyond: how a supermassive black...

Planets, Stars, and Galaxies: A Visual Encyclopedia of Our Universe

Planets, Stars, and Galaxies: A Visual Encyclopedia of Our Universe
by David A. Aguilar (Author)


Finally, it's here! The farthest reaches of our universe captured in atlas form for young readers. Planets, Stars, and Galaxies is the space book that pushes the boundaries of man's ultimate frontier. The engaging, educational text, written in collaboration with National Geographic experts, includes the latest discoveries about our universe; while specially commissioned artwork by the author illuminates page after page.

Exciting as well as enlightening, Planets, Stars, and Galaxies belongs on every family bookshelf, providing easy reference for school reports and compelling reading on the myriad mysteries beyond our world. With vivid illustrations and superb photography, this beautiful book puts the wonders of space into every child's hands. This engaging, provocative reference...

Galaxy Formation and Evolution

Galaxy Formation and Evolution
by Houjun Mo (Author), Frank van den Bosch (Author), Simon White (Author)


The rapidly expanding field of galaxy formation lies at the interface between astronomy, particle physics, and cosmology. Covering diverse topics from these disciplines, all of which are needed to understand how galaxies form and evolve, this book is ideal for researchers entering the field. Individual chapters explore the evolution of the Universe as a whole and its particle and radiation content; linear and nonlinear growth of cosmic structure; processes affecting the gaseous and dark matter components of galaxies and their stellar populations; the formation of spiral and elliptical galaxies; central supermassive black holes and the activity associated with them; galaxy interactions; and the intergalactic medium. Emphasizing both observational and theoretical aspects, this book provides...

The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams (Author), Neil Gaiman (Introduction)


At last in paperback in one complete volume, here are the five classic novels from Douglas Adams’s beloved Hitchiker series.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Seconds before the Earth is demolished for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is saved by Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised Guide. Together they stick out their thumbs to the stars and begin a wild journey through time and space.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Facing annihilation at the hands of warmongers is a curious time to crave tea. It could only happen to the cosmically displaced Arthur Dent and his comrades as they hurtle across the galaxy in a desperate search for a place to eat.

Life, the Universe and Everything
The unhappy inhabitants of planet Krikkit are sick of...

Galaxies in the Universe: An Introduction

Galaxies in the Universe: An Introduction
by Linda S. Sparke (Author), John S. Gallagher III (Author)


This extensively illustrated book presents the astrophysics of galaxies since their beginnings in the early Universe. It has been thoroughly revised to take into account the most recent observational data, and recent discoveries such as dark energy. There are new sections on galaxy clusters, gamma ray bursts and supermassive black holes. The authors explore the basic properties of stars and the Milky Way before working out towards nearby galaxies and the distant Universe. They discuss the structures of galaxies and how galaxies have developed, and relate this to the evolution of the Universe. The book also examines ways of observing galaxies across the whole electromagnetic spectrum, and explores dark matter and its gravitational pull on matter and light. This book is self-contained and...

© 2015 BrightSurf.com