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"Lego-Block" Galaxies in Early Universe Found


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#1    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 11:46 PM

Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes Find "Lego-Block" Galaxies in Early Universe

September 6, 2007 12:00 PM (EDT)
News Release Number: STScI-2007-31

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NASA's Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes have joined forces to discover nine of the smallest, faintest, most compact galaxies ever observed in the distant universe. Blazing with the brilliance of millions of stars, each of the newly discovered galaxies is a hundred to a thousand times smaller than our Milky Way Galaxy.

"These are among the lowest mass galaxies ever directly observed in the early universe," says Nor Pirzkal of the Space Telescope Science Institute and the European Space Agency in Baltimore, Md.

The conventional model for galaxy evolution predicts that small galaxies in the early universe evolved into the massive galaxies of today by coalescing. These nine Lego-like "building block" galaxies initially detected by Hubble likely contributed to the construction of the universe as we know it.

Pirzkal was surprised to find that the galaxies' estimated masses were so small. Hubble's cousin observatory, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope was called upon to make precise determinations of their masses. The Spitzer observations confirmed that these galaxies are some of the smallest building blocks of the universe.

These young galaxies offer important new insights into the universe's formative years, just one billion years after the Big Bang. Hubble detected sapphire blue stars residing within the nine pristine galaxies. The youthful stars are just a few million years old and are in the process of turning Big Bang elements (primarily hydrogen and helium) into heavier elements. The stars have probably not yet begun to pollute the surrounding space with elemental products forged within their cores.

"While blue light seen by Hubble shows the presence of young stars, it is the absence of infrared light in the sensitive Spitzer images that was conclusive in showing that these are truly young galaxies without an earlier generation of stars," says Sangeeta Malhotra of Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz., one of the investigators.

The galaxies were first identified by James Rhoads of Arizona State University and Chun Xu of the Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics in Shanghai, China, by their prominent and energetic light coming from glowing hydrogen. Three of the galaxies appear to be slightly disrupted - rather than being shaped like rounded blobs, they appear stretched into tadpole-like shapes. This is a sign that they may be interacting and merging with neighboring galaxies to form larger, cohesive structures.

The galaxies were observed in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer. Observations were also done with Spitzer's Infrared Array Camera and the European Southern Observatory's Infrared Spectrometer and Array Camera.

Pirzkal's main collaborators were Malhotra, Rhoads, Xu, and the GRism ACS Program for Extragalactic Science (GRAPES) team.

CONTACT

Nor Pirzkal
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.
410-338-4879
npirzkal@stsci.edu

Source: HubbleSite - Newsdesk

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#2    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 11:49 PM

Hubble and Spitzer Uncover Smallest Galaxy Building Blocks


News Release Number: STScI-2007-31

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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:
In this image of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, several objects are identified as the faintest, most compact galaxies ever observed in the distant universe. They are so far away that we see them as they looked less than one billion years after the Big Bang. Blazing with the brilliance of millions of stars, each of the newly discovered galaxies is a hundred to a thousand times smaller than our Milky Way Galaxy.

The bottom row of pictures shows several of these clumps (distance expressed in redshift value). Three of the galaxies appear to be slightly disrupted. Rather than being shaped like rounded blobs, they appear stretched into tadpole-like shapes. This is a sign that they may be interacting and merging with neighboring galaxies to form larger structures.

The detection required joint observations between Hubble and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Blue light seen by Hubble shows the presence of young stars. The absence of infrared light from Spitzer observations conclusively shows that these are truly young galaxies without an earlier generation of stars.

Object Names: HUDF

Image Type: Astronomical

Credit: NASA, ESA, and N. Pirzkal (STScI/ESA)

Source: HubbleSite - Newsdesk

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#3    Owlscrying

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 02:16 AM

September 6
Pasadena, California - NASA announced the discovery of nine of the smallest, most compact and faintest galaxies ever observed.

NASA said the nine compact galaxies discovered by the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes are 100 to 1,000 times smaller than the Milky Way galaxy.

"These are among the lowest mass galaxies ever directly observed in the early universe," said Nor Pirzkal of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

Pirzkal said he was surprised to find the galaxies' estimated masses were so small. Hubble's cousin observatory, Spitzer was used to make precise determinations of their masses and confirmed the galaxies are some of the smallest yet observed.

NASA said the discovery offers insights into the universe's formative years, just 1 billion years after the Big Bang.
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#4    Sun Raven

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 09:15 AM

I read that galaxy formation was due to collisions between smaller star systems ( small galaxies) until they all form one bigger galaxy, maybe this galaxies are still on their way to do this? Well anyways, this is happening constantly, galaxies collide constantly, the Milky Way itself will collide Andromeda, and it might collide with the local group too as it heads into the Vergo cluster.

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#5    Roj47

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 11:45 AM

Impressive stuff. A Couple of questions though -

1. How far from Earth are these galaxies?

2. I had come to the thought that distant objects would likely be the oldest in the universe (bar the everything created at the same time thought), and am confused how such distant objects could form with material dispersed over the billions of years to travel that far.

Cheers

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#6    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 01:10 PM

Quote

1. How far from Earth are these galaxies?

They are about 12 billion light years from Earth

Quote

2. I had come to the thought that distant objects would likely be the oldest in the universe (bar the everything created at the same time thought), and am confused how such distant objects could form with material dispersed over the billions of years to travel that far.


I'm not 100% sure what you mean by this, however I will try to answer as best I can. Remember that we are seeing these objects not as they are now, but as they were 12 billion years ago. These galaxies formed when the Universe was much smaller and less dispersed than it is now.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#7    testomine

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 01:37 PM

NASA announced the discovery of nine of the smallest, most compact and faintest galaxies ever observed.


#8    stevewinn

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 07:29 PM


Hi all,

Does NASA show these discoveries on their TV channel?

Steve,

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#9    Sun Raven

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 07:53 PM

WOAH, what a merge of topics the mods have done here, now the replies are all mumbled up. ohmy.gif

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#10    Wolvenblood

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 08:23 PM

What a discovery! seeing how those galaxies were forming could really help understand a bit more about our own one.


#11    Sun Raven

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 09:08 PM

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What a discovery! seeing how those galaxies were forming could really help understand a bit more about our own one.


Well yes, but we already know how the formation of galaxies occured.

EDIT: Typo.

Edited by Alex01, 07 September 2007 - 09:08 PM.

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#12    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 09:09 PM

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WOAH, what a merge of topics the mods have done here, now the replies are all mumbled up. ohmy.gif


Actually they aren't, the are in exactly the same order they were in when they were separate subjects. The only odd one is testomine's post, which was a subject all on it's own.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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