Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cosmologists 'See' The Cosmic Dawn

Date:
February 11, 2009
Source:
Durham University
Summary:
Scientists have used a computer simulation to predict what the very early universe would have appeared like 500 million years after the "Big Bang."

Scientists have used a computer simulation to predict what the very early Universe would have appeared like 500 million years after the Big Bang.
Credit: Image courtesy of Durham University

The images, produced by scientists at Durham University's Institute for Computational Cosmology, show the "Cosmic Dawn" - the formation of the first big galaxies in the Universe.

The Cosmic Dawn began as galaxies began to form out of the debris of massive stars which died explosively shortly after the beginning of the Universe. The Durham calculation predicts where these galaxies appear and how they evolve to the present day, over 13 billion years later.

The researchers hope their findings, which highlight star forming galaxies, will improve their understanding of dark matter – a mysterious substance believed to make up 80 per cent of the mass in the Universe.

Gravity produced by dark matter is an essential ingredient in galaxy formation and by studying its effects the scientists eventually hope to learn more about what the substance is.

The research is published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and was funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the European Commission.

The work combined a massive simulation showing how structures grow in dark matter with a model showing how normal matter, such as gas, behaves to predict how galaxies grow.

Gas feels the pull of gravity from dark matter and is heated up before cooling by releasing radiation and turning into stars.

The simulation images show which galaxies are forming stars most vigorously at a given time. Although the galaxies are biggest at the present day, the rate at which they are making new stars has dropped greatly compared with the rate in the early Universe.

The calculations of the Durham team, supported by scientists at the Universidad Catolica in Santiago, Chile, can be tested against new observations reaching back to early stages in the history of the Universe almost one billion years after the Big Bang.

Lead author, Alvaro Orsi, a research postgraduate in Durham University's Institute for Computational Cosmology (ICC), said: "We are effectively looking back in time and by doing so we hope to learn how galaxies like our own were made and to understand more about dark matter.

"The presence of dark matter is the key to building galaxies – without dark matter we wouldn't be here today."

Co-author Dr Carlton Baugh, a Royal Society Research Fellow, in the ICC, at Durham University, said: "Our research predicts which galaxies are growing through the formation of stars at different times in the history of the Universe and how these relate to the dark matter.

"We give the computer what we think is the recipe for galaxy formation and we see what is produced which is then tested against observations of real galaxies."

Professor Keith Mason, Chief Executive of the Science and Technology Facilities Council, said: "Computational cosmology plays an important part in our understanding of the Universe. Not only do these simulations allow us to look back in time to the early Universe but they complement the work and observations of our astronomers."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Durham University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Durham University. "Cosmologists 'See' The Cosmic Dawn." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090211082359.htm>.
Durham University. (2009, February 11). Cosmologists 'See' The Cosmic Dawn. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090211082359.htm
Durham University. "Cosmologists 'See' The Cosmic Dawn." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090211082359.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Supply Ship Takes Off for International Space Station

Supply Ship Takes Off for International Space Station

AFP (July 30, 2014) The European Space Agency's fifth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-5) is takes off to the International Space Station on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship

Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship

AP (July 30, 2014) Arianespace launched a rocket Tuesday from French Guiana carrying a robotic cargo ship to deliver provisions to the International Space Station. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
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