Nav: Home

Researchers at the IAC participate in the discovery of clusters of galaxies in the early universe

June 07, 2018

With observations made with the Herschel Space Observatory, with the APEX antenna and with the ALMA interferometer it has been possible to observe the formation of a cluster of galaxies in deep space, when the Universe was only a tenth as old as it is now.

The European Space Agency, ESA, launched the Herschel Space Observatory in 2009. It was the first observatory able to take far infrared spectra over the full range. Using it the team of researchers focused on what seemed to be a single cosmic object which is very red in the far infrared, and decided to study it with APEX and ALMA.

APEX is a 12m diametger radiotelescope in the Atacama desert in Chile, which was set up as a first step in the project ALMA, a group of 66 radiotelescopes of 7m and 22m in the same area. The result was the discovery of a concentration of dusty galaxies in the early univers. They are on the point of merging to form the centre of a future massive galaxy cluster.

Ivan Oteo, the Principal Investigator on the study, who currently works in the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh and the European Southern Observatory, points out how rare it is to observe this type of phenomena. "We think that the duration of dusty bursts of star formation lasts a relatively short time " he explains, and adds " these galaxies are usually in the minority at any epoch and at any place in the Universe. That is why finding a large number of bursts of dusty star formation emitting at the same time like this is very puzzling, somethiong we need to understand".

Ismael Pérez Fournon, Researcher at the University of La Laguna (ULL) and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) who participated in this study comments that " using the data from ALMA, whose resolution and sensitivity are very high, we are able to study the formation of clusters of galaxies when the age of the Universe was less than 1,500 million years". Helmut Dannerbauer, another researcher at the IAC and the ULL involved in the discovery points out the difference between this result and " the present theoretical and computation models which suggest that this type of very massive clusters needed much more time to evolve".

An independent study led by Tim Miller, a doctoral research student a Dalhousie University in Canada and Yale University in the United States have discovered a similar concentration of galaxies. In their case the finding was based on observations with a telescope at the South Pole, with the Herschel Space Observatory, and follow-up observations with APEX andALMA. "We still do not know how these clusters of galaxies grew so much and so quickly. They did not form gradually during thousands of millions of years as current theories of the formation and evolution of galaxies predict" says Miller. Scott Chapman, of Dalhousie and Cambridge Universities concludes that "These discoveries give us a great opportunity to study how massive galaxies joined together to form galaxy clusters".
-end-


Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC)

Related Universe Articles:

The largest virtual Universe ever simulated
Researchers from the University of Zurich have simulated the formation of our entire Universe with a large supercomputer.
Does the universe have a rest frame?
Physics is sometimes closer to philosophy when it comes to understanding the universe.
Ancient signals from the early universe
For the first time, theoretical physicists from the University of Basel have calculated the signal of specific gravitational wave sources that emerged fractions of a second after the Big Bang.
Big data for the universe
Astronomers at Lomonosov Moscow State University in cooperation with their French colleagues and with the help of citizen scientists have released 'The Reference Catalog of galaxy SEDs,' which contains value-added information about 800,000 galaxies.
The universe is expanding at an accelerating rate -- or is it?
Five years ago, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to three astronomers for their discovery, in the late 1990s, that the universe is expanding at an accelerating pace.
Visualizing the universe
Computer scientists from the University of Utah will be working with researchers from New York University's Tandon School of Engineering and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) to develop OpenSpace, an open-source 3-D software for visualizing NASA astrophysics, heliophysics, planetary science and Earth science missions for planetariums and other immersive environments.
Insights into the dawn of the universe
What did the universe look like just after the Big Bang?
Exploring the mathematical universe
A team of more than 80 mathematicians from 12 countries has begun charting the terrain of rich, new mathematical worlds, and sharing their discoveries on the Web.
The expansion of the universe simulated
The universe is constantly expanding. But how does our universe evolve?
Multilingual Universe from 'Mitaka'
The door to the digital Universe has been flung open!

Related Universe Reading:

Universe: Exploring the Astronomical World
by Phaidon Editors (Author), David Malin (Contributor), Paul Murdin (Contributor)

Universe: The Definitive Visual Guide
by Robert Dinwiddie (Author), Philip Eales (Author), David Hughes (Author), Iain Nicolson (Author), Ian Ridpath (Author), Robin Scagell (Author), Giles Sparrow (Author), Pam Spence (Author), Carole Stott (Author), Kevin Tildsley (Author), Martin Rees (Editor)

The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith
by Gabrielle Bernstein (Author)

The Universe Today Ultimate Guide to Viewing The Cosmos: Everything You Need to Know to Become an Amateur Astronomer
by David Dickinson (Author)

The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
by Brian Greene (Author)

Hello, Universe
by Erin Entrada Kelly (Author), Isabel Roxas (Illustrator)

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe: How to Know What's Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake
by Steven Novella (Author), Bob Novella (Contributor), Cara Santa Maria (Contributor), Jay Novella (Contributor), Evan Bernstein (Contributor)

The Holographic Universe: The Revolutionary Theory of Reality
by Michael Talbot (Author)

Hubble's Universe: Greatest Discoveries and Latest Images
by Terence Dickinson (Author)

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Hacking The Law
We have a vision of justice as blind, impartial, and fair — but in reality, the law often fails those who need it most. This hour, TED speakers explore radical ways to change the legal system. Guests include lawyer and social justice advocate Robin Steinberg, animal rights lawyer Steven Wise, political activist Brett Hennig, and lawyer and social entrepreneur Vivek Maru.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#496 Anti-Intellectualism: Down With the Scientist!
This week we get to the bottom of anti-intellectualism. We'll be speaking with David Robson, senior journalist at BBC Future, about misology -- the hatred of reason and argument -- and how it may be connected to distrust of intellectuals. Then we'll speak with Bruno Takahashi, associate professor of environmental journalism and communication at Michigan State University, about how the way we consume media affects our scientific knowledge and how we feel about scientists and the press.