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Hidden Star Factories in the Early Universe

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ALMA Exposes Hidden Star Factories in the Early Universe

Using entire galaxies as gigantic gravitational lenses, UA astronomers have obtained new measurements of some of the oldest galaxies in the universe. Their observations revealed that some of the most vigorous bursts of star birth in the cosmos took place much earlier than previously thought.

Some of the brightest galaxies in the universe – infant galaxies that churned out tens of thousands of stars each year at the dawn of the universe – evolved much sooner and in greater numbers than previously thought, according to new measurements obtained by University of Arizona astronomers.

The results are published in a set of papers to appear in the journal Nature on March 14 and in the Astrophysical Journal. The research is the most recent example of the discoveries coming from the new international ALMA observatory, which celebrates its inauguration today. ALMA, which stands for Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, is an array of 66 radio telescopes located in the dry and cloudless Atacama Desert in Chile.

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