TAM: Research Finds Ancient City of ‘Modern’ Galaxies

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TAM: Research Finds Ancient City of ‘Modern’ Galaxies

Post by bystander » Tue May 11, 2010 7:10 pm

Texas A&M-Led Research Finds Ancient City of ‘Modern’ Galaxies
Texas A&M, College Station, TX, May 11, 2010
Using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, a Texas A&M University-led team of astronomers has uncovered what may be the earliest, most distant cluster of galaxies ever detected.

The group of roughly 60 galaxies, called CLG J02182-05102, is nearly 10 billion years old – born just 4 billion years after the Big Bang. However, it’s not the size nor the age of the cluster that amazes the team of researchers led by Dr. Casey Papovich, an assistant professor in the Texas A&M Department of Physics and Astronomy and member of the George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy. Rather, it’s the surprisingly modern appearance of CLG J02182-05102 that has them baffled – a huge, red collection of galaxies typical of only present-day galaxies.

“It’s like we dug an archaeological site in Rome and found pieces of modern Rome amongst the ruins,” explains Papovich, lead author of the team’s study to be published in Astrophysical Journal.

While its neighboring galaxies appear vastly smaller and far fainter, Papovich says CLG J02182-05102 stands out as a densely-populated bundle of ancient galaxies. Enormous red galaxies at the center contain almost 10 times as many stars as our Milky Way, he notes, combining for a total size that rivals that of the most monstrous galaxies of our nearby universe.

Before now, Papovich says, such a finding would be considered by many astronomers to be highly unlikely, considering the time frame in which they were found.
Image

Ancient City of Galaxies Looks Surprisingly Modern
NASA JPL Spitzer - 12 May 2010
Astronomers are a bit like archeologists as they dig back through space and time searching for remnants of the early universe. In a recent deep excavation, courtesy of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have unearthed what may be the most distant, primitive cluster of galaxies ever found.

In a twist, however, this apparent ancestor to today's "big cities" of grouped galaxies looks shockingly modern. Called CLG J02182-05102, the ancient cluster is dominated by old, red and massive galaxies, typical of present-day clusters. For example, it is similar to a young version of the Coma Cluster of today, which has had billions of more years to develop.
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For now, ClG J02182-05102 stands out as a greatly over-dense region of galaxies - a metropolis in a land of isolated villages. At its center regions loom red, monster galaxies containing about 10 times as many stars as our Milky Way galaxy. This puts them on par with the most mammoth galaxies in the nearby universe, which have grown fat through repeated mergers of other galaxies. These big galaxies are so uncharacteristic of those in the early universe that in some sense it is like finding modern skyscrapers in ancient Rome.
A Spitzer-Selected Galaxy Cluster at z=1.62
  • arXiv.org > astro-ph > arXiv:1002.3158
    (Submitted: 16 Feb 2010 (v1), Last Revised: 21 Apr 2010 (v3))
    Accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal
Ancient Galaxy Cluster Contains “Modern” Galaxies
Carnegie Institution of Science, Washington, DC - 12 May 2010

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Re: TAM: Research Finds Ancient City of ‘Modern’ Galaxies

Post by bystander » Tue May 11, 2010 10:07 pm

Galactic Metropolis: NASA JPL Spitzer sig10-005 - 11 May 2010
Ancient City of Galaxies Looks Surprisingly Modern: NASA JPL 2010-157 - 11 May 2010

Image
PIA13134: Galactic Metropolis (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Subaru)
A surprisingly large collections of galaxies (red dots) stands out at a remarkably large distance in this composite image combining infrared and visible-light observations. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope contributed to the infrared component of the observations, while shorter-wavelength infrared and visible data are provided by Japan's Subaru telescope atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

Looking out to this distance, the cluster appears as it was 9.6 billion years ago, only about three billion years after the Big Bang. Astronomers were surprised to find such a "modern" cluster at an era when its peers tended to be much smaller, presumably taking billions of more years to collect enough galaxies to reach such a size.

Infrared light from Spitzer at wavelengths of 3.6 and 4.5 microns is displayed in red. Subaru observations of near infrared and visible light with wavelengths of 0.9 and 0.44 microns are rendered in green and blue, respectively. The purple overlay is a calculated measure of overall galaxy density and highlights the high concentration of galaxies in the distant cluster.

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Re: TAM: Research Finds Ancient City of ‘Modern’ Galaxies

Post by bystander » Fri May 14, 2010 6:38 pm

Oldest, Most Distant Galaxy Family Spotted
Discovery News - 14 May 2010
A 9.6 billion-year-old cluster of about 60 galaxies is seen by separate teams of astronomers.

Galaxies are a gregarious lot, even those that existed 9.6 billion years ago. Two separate teams of astronomers have detected signs of a surprisingly modern looking cluster of galaxies of that age using a combination of X-ray and infrared coming from the distant galactic gathering.

Galaxy clusters are the universe's largest structures held together by gravity. And the newly discovered cluster, dubbed ClG J02182-05102, is the oldest such structure ever found, which is a big help to researchers trying to piece together the evolution of galaxies and clusters throughout the universe.
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To gauge the distances, astronomers used the "red-shifts" of the galaxies. As light travels through the ever expanding universe, its waves gets stretched out, making it redder and redder.

What was once the bright white light of these galaxies has now become dim, mostly infrared light that could be captured and analyzed by such instruments as the Multi-Object InfraRed Camera and Spectrograph on the Japanese Subaru telescope.

"A cluster is a collection of galaxies gathered close to each other. So, it is important to make sure that galaxies have similar redshifts," explained Masayuki Tanaka of Japan's Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe. Tanaka is the lead author on a paper that has been accepted by Astrophysical Journal Letters confirming the cluster's existence.

Another team of astronomers, led by Casey Papovich of Texas A&M University, used an array of telescopes and astronomical survey data, including the orbiting Spitzer telescope, to discover the cluster, as well as estimate that the cluster probably contains around 60 galaxies.

Their paper will appears in the June 2010 issue of Astrophysical Journal
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The clincher for calling this a cluster, however, is the X-ray observations. If the galaxies are bound by gravity, they should be swimming in a giant cloud of hot gases. Those gases should be hot enough to emit X-rays.

To see if this was the case, Alexis Finoguenov, of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, used the orbiting XMM-Newton observatory. Sure enough, the X-rays are there, forming a hot spot where the distant galaxies are located.
http://asterisk.apod.com/vie ... 31&t=19350

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Re: TAM: Research Finds Ancient City of ‘Modern’ Galaxies

Post by Beyond » Sun May 16, 2010 7:43 pm

I wonder if they are ever going to be able to find the rainbow colored Galaxies.

Microsoft has a series of 12 pictures of space from the Spitzer Space telescope that rotates every half hour, that you can download for background.
My favorite looks like a big eye with a red center and blue or bluish-green outer.
This is for windows 7. I don't know if it will fit anything else. It sure beats staring at the same background all the time.
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