Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Early galaxy went through 'teenage growth spurt,' scientists say

Date:
March 22, 2010
Source:
Durham University
Summary:
Scientists have found a massive galaxy in the early universe creating stars like our sun up to 100 times faster than the modern-day Milky Way.

The distant galaxy SMM J2135-0102, shown here in 870-micron observations by the Submillimeter Array, has been gravitationally lensed by a foreground galaxy cluster. The galaxy's light is magnified and bent by gravity to produce mirror images of each of four star-forming regions (labeled A through D). If the galaxy were seen undistorted, it would appear like the inset at upper left. Regions A and D are separated by less than 6,000 light-years. The inset at lower right shows the resolution of the SMA image.
Credit: Mark Swinbank (Durham) and Steve Longmore (SAO)

Scientists have found a massive galaxy in the early Universe creating stars like our sun up to 100 times faster than the modern-day Milky Way.

The team of international researchers, led by Durham University, described the finding as like seeing "a teenager going through a growth spurt."

Due to the amount of time it takes light to reach Earth the scientists observed the galaxy as it would have appeared 10 billion years ago -- just three billion years after the Big Bang.

They found four discrete star-forming regions within the galaxy known as SMM J2135-0102. Each region was more than 100 times brighter than star-forming regions in the Milky Way, such as the Orion Nebula.

They say their results, published online in the journal Nature, suggest that star formation was more rapid and vigorous in the early Universe as galaxies went through periods of huge growth.

The findings, funded by the Royal Astronomical Society and the Science and Technology Facilities Council, provide a unique insight into how stars formed in the early Universe, the scientists added.

Lead author Dr Mark Swinbank, in the Institute for Computational Cosmology, at Durham University, said: "This galaxy is like a teenager going through a growth spurt. If you could see it today as an adult you'd find the galactic equivalent of the football player Peter Crouch.

"We don't fully understand why the stars are forming so rapidly but our results suggest that stars formed much more efficiently in the early Universe than they do today.

"Galaxies in the early Universe appear to have gone through rapid growth and stars like our sun formed much more quickly than they do today."

The scientists estimate that the observed galaxy is producing stars at a rate equivalent to 250 suns per year.

The findings support earlier research led by Durham University. In 2009 Durham scientists found that a galaxy -- called MS1358arc -- was forming stars more rapidly than expected when it was observed as it would have appeared almost 12.5billion years ago.

SMM J2135-0102 was found using the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope, which is operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Follow-up observations were carried out by combining the natural gravitational lens of nearby galaxies with the powerful Submillimeter Array telescope based in Hawaii to magnify the galaxy even further.

Dr Swinbank added: "The magnification reveals the galaxy in unprecedented detail, even though it is so distant that its light has taken about 10 billion years to reach us.

"In follow-up observations with the Submillimeter Array telescope we've been able to study the clouds where stars are forming in the galaxy with great precision."

Carlos De Breuck, a co-author of the paper, from ESO, said: "The star formation in this galaxy's large dust clouds is unlike that in the nearby Universe.

"However, our observations suggest that we should be able to use underlying physics from the densest cores in nearby galaxies to understand star birth in these more distant galaxies."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. A. M. Swinbank, I. Smail, S. Longmore, A. I. Harris, A. J. Baker, C. De Breuck, J. Richard, A. C. Edge, R. J. Ivison, R. Blundell, K. E. K. Coppin, P. Cox, M. Gurwell, L. J. Hainline, M. Krips, A. Lundgren, R. Neri, B. Siana, G. Siringo, D. P. Stark, D. Wilner & J. D. Younger. Intense star formation within resolved compact regions in a galaxy at z = 2.3. Nature, 2010; DOI: 10.1038/nature08880

Cite This Page:

Durham University. "Early galaxy went through 'teenage growth spurt,' scientists say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100321182945.htm>.
Durham University. (2010, March 22). Early galaxy went through 'teenage growth spurt,' scientists say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100321182945.htm
Durham University. "Early galaxy went through 'teenage growth spurt,' scientists say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100321182945.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boeing, SpaceX to Send Astronauts to Space Station

Boeing, SpaceX to Send Astronauts to Space Station

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) — NASA selected Boeing and SpaceX on Tuesday to build America's next spacecraft to carry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) by 2017, opening the way to a new chapter in human spaceflight. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — Numerous residents along the East Coast reported seeing a bright meteor flash through the sky Sunday night. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Picks Boeing and SpaceX to Ferry Astronauts

NASA Picks Boeing and SpaceX to Ferry Astronauts

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — NASA is a giant step closer to launching Americans again from U.S. soil. It has announced it has picked Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station in the next few years. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
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