Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Very distant galaxy cluster confirmed

Date:
May 21, 2014
Source:
Carnegie Institution
Summary:
The structures and star populations of massive galaxies appear to change as they age, but much about how these galaxies formed and evolved remains mysterious. Many of the oldest and most massive galaxies reside in clusters, enormous structures where numerous galaxies are found concentrated together. Galaxy clusters in the early universe are thought to be key to understanding the lifecycles of old galaxies, but to date astronomers have located only a handful of these rare, distant structures.

Hubble Space Telescope image of the center of the newly-confirmed JKCS 041 galaxy cluster, located at a distance of 9.9 billion light years. The galaxies located in the cluster are circled. Blue circles show the few galaxies that continue to form new stars, while yellow circles show those that have already entered quiescence.
Credit: Image courtesy of Carnegie Institution

The structures and star populations of massive galaxies appear to change as they age, but much about how these galaxies formed and evolved remains mysterious. Many of the oldest and most massive galaxies reside in clusters, enormous structures where numerous galaxies are found concentrated together. Galaxy clusters in the early universe are thought to be key to understanding the lifecycles of old galaxies, but to date astronomers have located only a handful of these rare, distant structures.

Related Articles


New research from a team led by Carnegie's Andrew Newman has confirmed the presence of an unusually distant galaxy cluster, JKCS 041. It is published by The Astrophysical Journal.

"Our observations make this galaxy cluster one of the best-studied structures from the early universe," Newman said.

Although the team began studying JKCS 041 in 2006, it has taken years of observing with many of the world's most powerful telescopes to finally confirm its distance. The team used the Hubble Space Telescope to capture sharp images of the distant cluster and split the starlight from the galaxies into its constituent colors, a technique known as spectroscopy. They found 19 galaxies at precisely the same great distance of 9.9 billion light years, the tell-tale sign of an early galaxy cluster.

A previous study using the Chandra X-ray Observatory discovered X-ray emissions in the location of JKCS 041.

"These X-rays likely originate from hot gas in JKCS 041, which has been heated to a temperature of about 80 million degrees by the gravity of the massive cluster," said team member Stefano Andreon of the Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, who led a companion paper published by Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Today the largest and oldest galaxies are found in clusters, but there is a mystery about when and why these giant galaxies stopped forming new stars and became dormant, or quiescent. Peering back to a time when the galaxies in JKCS 041 were only 1 billion years old -- or 10 percent of their present age -- the team found that most had already entered their quiescent phase.

"Because JKCS 041 is the most-distant known cluster of its size, it gives us a unique opportunity to study these old galaxies in detail and better understand their origins," Newman said.

Once massive galaxies enter their quiescent phase, they continue expanding in overall size. This is thought to occur as galaxies collide with one another and evolve into a new, larger galaxy. Early clusters are suspected to be prime locations for these collisions, but to the team's surprise they found that the galaxies in JKCS 041 were growing at nearly the same rate as non-cluster galaxies.

The international team included Newman, Andreon, Ginevra Trinchieri of the Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, Richard Ellis of Caltech, Tommaso Treu of the University of California at Santa Barbara, and Anand Raichoor of the Observatorie di Paris.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrew B. Newman, Richard S. Ellis, Stefano Andreon, Tommaso Treu, Anand Raichoor, Ginevra Trinchieri. Spectroscopic Confirmation of the Rich z=1.80 Galaxy Cluster JKCS 041 Using the WFC3 Grism: Environmental Trends in the Ages and Structure of Quiescent Galaxies. The Astrophysical Journal, 2014 (accepted) [link]

Cite This Page:

Carnegie Institution. "Very distant galaxy cluster confirmed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521133712.htm>.
Carnegie Institution. (2014, May 21). Very distant galaxy cluster confirmed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521133712.htm
Carnegie Institution. "Very distant galaxy cluster confirmed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521133712.htm (accessed April 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Hubble Telescope: 25 Years Of Revealing The Universe

Hubble Telescope: 25 Years Of Revealing The Universe

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2015) Despite a blurry start to its service, the Hubble Space Telescope is still serving as one of the best visual science tools on or off the planet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hubble Telescope Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Hubble Telescope Celebrates 25th Anniversary

AP (Apr. 23, 2015) NASA&apos;s Hubble Space Telescope is celebrating its 25th anniversary of being placed into orbit. NASA unveiled the official Hubble anniversary image to mark the occasion. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hubble Turns 25

The Hubble Turns 25

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 22, 2015) The Hubble telescope turns 25, marking a milestone in the history of space exploration. As Pavithra George reports, NASA is celebrating the technology, saying Hubble has "rewritten the text books." Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Teens Compete, Help Shape Future of NASA

Teens Compete, Help Shape Future of NASA

AP (Apr. 21, 2015) This week, 17,000 students from 30 countries are competing in the 20th FIRST Robotics Championship in St. Louis, including a team from Houston that, a few years ago, helped influence the design of a NASA rover. (April 22) 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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