ESO: Clearing the Cosmic Fog: Most Distant Galaxy Measured

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bystander
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ESO: Clearing the Cosmic Fog: Most Distant Galaxy Measured

Post by bystander » Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:02 pm

Clearing the Cosmic Fog: The Most Distant Galaxy Ever Measured
European Southern Observatory | VLT | eso1041 | 20 Oct 2010
A European team of astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) has measured the distance to the most remote galaxy so far. By carefully analysing the very faint glow of the galaxy they have found that they are seeing it when the Universe was only about 600 million years old (a redshift of 8.6). These are the first confirmed observations of a galaxy whose light is clearing the opaque hydrogen fog that filled the cosmos at this early time. The results were presented at an online press conference with the scientists on 19 October 2010, and will appear in the 21 October issue of the journal Nature.
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Studying these first galaxies is extremely difficult. By the time that their initially brilliant light gets to Earth they appear very faint and small. Furthermore, this dim light falls mostly in the infrared part of the spectrum because its wavelength has been stretched by the expansion of the Universe — an effect known as redshift. To make matters worse, at this early time, less than a billion years after the Big Bang, the Universe was not fully transparent and much of it was filled with a hydrogen fog that absorbed the fierce ultraviolet light from young galaxies. The period when the fog was still being cleared by this ultraviolet light is known as the era of reionisation. Despite these challenges the new Wide Field Camera 3 on the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope discovered several robust candidate objects in 2009 that were thought to be galaxies shining in the era of reionisation. Confirming the distances to such faint and remote objects is an enormous challenge and can only reliably be done using spectroscopy from very large ground-based telescopes, by measuring the redshift of the galaxy’s light.
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Re: ESO: Clearing the Cosmic Fog: Most Distant Galaxy Measur

Post by neufer » Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:09 pm

Is anyone aware of an image created (and provide a link) to show what
UDFy-38135539 might look like from the vantage point of the Magellenic Clouds?

Thanks!
Art Neuendorffer

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Re: ESO: Clearing the Cosmic Fog: Most Distant Galaxy Measur

Post by BMAONE23 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:17 pm

neufer wrote:Is anyone aware of an image created (and provide a link) to show what
UDFy-38135539 might look like from the vantage point of the Magellenic Clouds?

Thanks!
Too funny Neuf :wink:

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Re: ESO: Clearing the Cosmic Fog: Most Distant Galaxy Measur

Post by bystander » Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:29 pm

neufer wrote:Is anyone aware of an image created (and provide a link) to show what
UDFy-38135539 might look like from the vantage point of the Magellenic Clouds?

Thanks!

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Re: ESO: Clearing the Cosmic Fog: Most Distant Galaxy Measur

Post by bystander » Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:13 pm

Most distant galaxy ever found sheds light on infant cosmos
Nature News | 20 Oct 2010
Observations of the most distant object yet discovered go a long way in supporting astronomers' models of the early Universe. But the far-flung galaxy, details of which are published in Nature today1, also raises questions about the source of the first light in the cosmos.

Light from the galaxy, named UDFy-38135539, left the object just 600 million years after the Big Bang, giving a snapshot of the cosmos in its infancy. This value smashes the previous record held by a galaxy by 150 million years2. The image shows the galaxy as it was when it was around 100 million years old and is just 1-10% of the mass of the Milky Way.

The galaxy is particularly fascinating because, 600 million years after the Big Bang, the Universe was thought to be going through a phase called reionization. However, there has been little direct observational evidence for this, says astronomer Matt Lehnert at the Paris Observatory in France, who led the team involved in the study. According to astronomers' best models, the early Universe burst out of the Big Bang around 13 billion years ago as an ionized fireball. This ball of gas gradually cooled, becoming neutral as protons and neutrons combined to form hydrogen. "Then stars and galaxies began to form, lighting up the Universe, heating up the gas and reionizing it," says Lehnert. "This galaxy allows us to peek at the reionization era."
Very Large Telescope Dates Oldest Galaxy Ever Seen
Inside Science | 20 Oct 2010