Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Multiwavelength Images Of Distant Universe Now Available On Google Sky

Date:
October 8, 2007
Source:
University of California, Santa Cruz
Summary:
A massive project to map a distant region of the Universe in multiple wavelengths--from x-rays through ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and radio waves--is releasing its data this week to both fellow scientists and the general public. In the objects seen by Chandra, X-ray radiation has been produced when gas is spiralling into a super massive black hole, like those believed to lie at the centre of almost every galaxy. Many of the X-ray emitting objects lie buried within otherwise normal-looking galaxies. In these X-ray images, the bluest objects are the ones most obscured by gas within their host galaxies.

These views of the x-ray galaxy CXO-J141741.9 show a mini-quasar in the act of being created some 8 billion years ago. The four images were taken with different satellite telescopes and show how telescopes at different wavelengths are needed to tell the whole story of a galaxy.The spatial detail of the Hubble image in visible light (top left) is needed to spot the gravitational interaction that triggered the mini-quasar and starburst. Chandra x-ray images (bottom right) are needed to measure the luminosity of the mini-quasar, while Spitzer infrared images (top right and bottom left) reveal radiation from that and from the ongoing burst of star formation.
Credit: AEGIS collaboration

A massive project to map a distant region of the Universe in multiple wavelengths--from x-rays through ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and radio waves--is currently releasing its data to both fellow scientists and the general public. It is the first data release from the AEGIS survey and the first release of multiwavelength data to take advantage of the capabilities of Google Sky, a new feature of Google Earth.

AEGIS--the All-wavelength Extended Groth Strip International Survey--combines the efforts of nearly 100 researchers from around the world observing the same small region of sky in all available wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. The target area, called the Extended Groth Strip, covers an area the width of four full moons that is a hop, skip and jump from the end of the Big Dipper's handle. The AEGIS region has now been surveyed more intensively and with more telescopes than any other region of the sky.

"We are still sorting through this treasure trove to discover the many gems of information it contains," said Sandra Faber, University Professor and chair of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Faber worked with Jeffrey Newman of the University of Pittsburgh, Shui Kwok of the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, UCSC graduate student Genevieve Graves, and many other members of the AEGIS team to coordinate the data release through Google Sky.

"We are looking back to a time when the universe was more than half its current age and when galaxies were forming most of their stars," says Professor Kirpal Nandra, from the Department of Physics and who is leading the project from Imperial College London. He added: "With the X-ray images we are looking at black holes, which are at the centre of galaxies, to try to work out how the growth of black holes is linked to the growth of the galaxy itself."

"It is clear that serving astronomical data through Google Sky is going to revolutionize the way astronomers communicate, both among themselves and with the public," Faber said. "AEGIS is proud and pleased to be the pathfinder dataset for Google Sky's new multiwavelength capabilities."

Color images from four different satellite telescopes, as well as numerous data catalogs, from x-ray to radio wavelengths, giving brightnesses and distances of tens of thousands of galaxies are now available. Google Earth's new Sky feature provides a fast and powerful access tool for astronomical data similar to what the popular Google Earth software has provided for terrestrial data.

"AEGIS images projected onto the celestial sphere show how it would look with infrared, ultraviolet, or x-ray eyes," Faber said. "Some galaxies look brighter at certain wavelengths than others, which carries important information about their composition and the processes occurring within them."

The rapid browsing abilities of Google Sky provide a new way to compare many views of a single galaxy or a set of galaxies instantly. For researchers, it is a powerful tool for exploring AEGIS's massive data sets. The AEGIS collaboration is also making all of its data available on its website, so that researchers can download it directly.

Of the four color images in the first AEGIS data release, the most detailed is a visible-light image stitched together from 63 separate pointings of the Hubble Space Telescope. This image forms the base map in Google Sky. Stretching twice the width of the full Moon, it is the largest unbroken color mosaic ever made with Hubble and contains images of approximately 50,000 faraway galaxies. Light has traveled for more than 10 billion years from the most distant ones, giving us pictures of them as they looked long ago, more than three-quarters of the way back to the Big Bang. The exquisite detail of the Hubble images shows infant and adolescent galaxies as they began to form.

The second image shows the same galaxies through the ultraviolet eyes of NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) satellite. Ultraviolet wavelengths are shorter and bluer than those of visible light. Massive, hot young stars that are just forming produce ultraviolet light in abundance. Brightness in the GALEX image therefore provides a measure of the rate at which each galaxy is forming stars. Galaxies that contain relatively few hot, young stars or that are obscured by either their own dust or diffuse gas along our line of sight will appear redder in the GALEX image.

The third view is a mosaic of images taken with the Infrared Array Camera on NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the last mission in NASA's Great Observatory series. Near-infrared brightness is closely related to the total number of stars in a galaxy, while the colors of a galaxy as seen through infrared eyes reveal information on both its contents (stars and dust) and its distance from us.

The fourth image was produced with data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. In the objects seen by Chandra, highly energetic x-ray radiation has been produced when gas is spiralling into a supermassive black hole, like those believed to lie at the center of almost every galaxy. Many of the x-ray-emitting objects lie buried within otherwise normal-looking galaxies. In the x-ray images, the bluest objects are the ones most obscured by gas within their host galaxies.

In the objects seen by Chandra, X-ray radiation has been produced when gas is spiralling into a super massive black hole, like those believed to lie at the centre of almost every galaxy. Many of the X-ray emitting objects lie buried within otherwise normal-looking galaxies. In these X-ray images, the bluest objects are the ones most obscured by gas within their host galaxies, according to researchers at Imperial College in London.

In combination, these images simultaneously measure the sizes and shapes of galaxies, their current rates of star formation, the total number of stars each galaxy has already formed, and the rate at which a black hole at its center is actively accreting matter. All of this information provides separate clues to help scientists understand the evolution of galaxies over the past 10 billion years.

These images from space-based telescopes are tied together by the spectra of nearly 15,000 AEGIS galaxies taken with the Keck II Telescope in Hawaii as part of the DEEP2 Galaxy Redshift Survey, led by Faber and Marc Davis of UC Berkeley. Among other information, these spectra enable astronomers to determine distances to these objects, which is crucial for distinguishing small galaxies in the foreground from giant galaxies that appear faint because they are so far away. Once they have determined the distance to a galaxy, astronomers know how far back in time light left it. The most distant galaxies in the AEGIS survey are seen as they looked only a few billion years after the Big Bang.

With the Sky feature in Google Earth, users can pan and zoom around all of these pictures of the sky to select individual galaxies for closer inspection. By adjusting the transparency of each image, the user can focus on only one of the AEGIS images at a time, or look at a combination (e.g., the GALEX image superimposed on Hubble). Clicking on galaxies in AEGIS catalogs brings up their distances and intrinsic properties. A further mouse click links the user to the Keck spectrum and additional information being used for AEGIS science studies.

This first data release from AEGIS is only the first step. Later releases will feature images taken at far-infrared and radio wavelengths. A master catalog is being prepared that combines information from all of AEGIS's many views of the sky. As future images are prepared, they and the growing data catalogs will all be linked through Google Sky.

The AEGIS web site gives more information about the survey, science results to date, and links to additional images and data that can be downloaded. The many windows on the universe provided by AEGIS have already produced a variety of new results on the evolution of galaxies, and many more new findings from the AEGIS team will appear soon, according to Newman.

"With this public release of both interactive images and the underlying data catalogs, the full astronomical community will now be able to take advantage of this powerful new dataset," he said.

The AEGIS teams that contributed images and data for this release include the Hubble team led by Marc Davis of UC Berkeley; the Chandra team lead by Kirpal Nandra of Imperial College, London; the Spitzer team led by Giovanni Fazio of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; and the GALEX team led by Chris Martin of the California Institute of Technology. Funding for the AEGIS collaboration was provided by the National Science Foundation and NASA.

Images are available at: http://earth.google.com/gallery/index.html


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, Santa Cruz. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California, Santa Cruz. "Multiwavelength Images Of Distant Universe Now Available On Google Sky." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071003130840.htm>.
University of California, Santa Cruz. (2007, October 8). Multiwavelength Images Of Distant Universe Now Available On Google Sky. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071003130840.htm
University of California, Santa Cruz. "Multiwavelength Images Of Distant Universe Now Available On Google Sky." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071003130840.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

AP (July 22, 2014) A Russian Soyuz cargo-carrying spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station on Monday. The craft is due to undergo about ten days of engineering tests before it burns up in the Earth's atmosphere. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

AP (July 21, 2014) NASA honored one of its most famous astronauts Monday by renaming a historic building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It now bears the name of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Neil Armstrong gained international fame after becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. But what was his life like after the historic trip? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, July 18, 2014

This Week @ NASA, July 18, 2014

NASA (July 18, 2014) Apollo 11 yesterday, Next Giant Leap tomorrow, Science instruments for Europa mission, and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins