Feeds

Hubble survey yields clues to galaxy formation

Theorists probably right, after all

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Astronomers have uncovered more than 500 previously unknown young galaxies in images of the early universe taken during the Hubble Space Telescope's ultra deep field survey, completed in 2004, and the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS), made in 2003.

The young galaxies are approximately 13bn light years away, meaning they give us a glimpse of a time when the universe was less than seven per cent of its current age. Once the red-shift associated with expansion of the universe is accounted for, the galaxies appear very blue, indicating that they are teaming with stars being born.

Lots and lots of galaxies

The galaxies are much smaller than those we see in today's universe, and much dimmer. Rychard Bouwens from the university of California says this supports the theory that galaxies grew by merging with one another, building up over time.

So often with Hubble, the images returned confound astronomers, turning conventional wisdom on its head. And while this is fantastic for advancing the state of the science, the theorists must yearn for data like this, which suggests sometimes at least they have got it right.

The findings also provide evidence to support one explanation for the so-called reheating of the universe. This is a period in the universe's history after the Big Bang when the universe had expanded enough for the gas in between the stars to have cooled down. Astronomers had long debated how the gas was reheated.

"Seeing all of these starburst galaxies provides evidence that there were enough galaxies one thousand million years after the Big Bang to finish reheating the Universe," explained team member Garth Illingworth, also of the University of California. "It highlights a period of fundamental change in the Universe, and we are seeing the galaxy population that brought about that change." ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.