Skip to comments.Astronomical surprise: Massive old galaxies starve to death in the infant universe
Posted on 03/21/2005 7:00:41 AM PST by PatrickHenry
Astronomers have found distant red galaxiesvery massive and very oldin the universe when it was only 2.5 billion years post Big Bang. Previous observations suggested that the universe at this age was home to young, small clumps of galaxies long before they merged into massive structures we see today, remarked Carnegie Observatories Ivo Labbé, who led the group of astronomers in the study. [Members of the research project are listed at the end of the original article.] We are really amazed these are the earliest, oldest galaxies found to date. Their existence was not predicted by theory and it pushes back the formation epoch of some of the most massive galaxies we see today."
About two years ago, astronomers from Leiden (The Netherlands) using the European ground-based Very Large Telescope found a population of distant red galaxies in the near infrared. But the images could not ascertain what made the galaxies red: Were they old and dead and no longer forming stars, or were massive amounts of dust obscuring star-forming regions?
The Labbé-led group used the infrared-imaging Spitzer Space Telescope to analyze the content of the new galactic population to address the questions of age, stellar mass, and activity. Giovanni Fazio (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), a co-author on the study, said, "Spitzer offers capabilities that the Hubble Space Telescope and other instruments don't, giving us a unique way to study very distant galaxies long ago that eventually became the galaxies we see around us now."
The team was particularly surprised to find very old, red galaxies that had stopped forming new stars altogether. They had rapidly formed massive amounts of stars out of gas much earlier in the universe's history, but then suddenly starved to death, raising the question of what caused them to die so early. Such "red and dead" galaxies may be the forefathers of some of the old and giant elliptical galaxies seen in the local universe today.
In addition to the old "dead galaxies long past star formation, there were other red, dusty galaxies still vigorously producing stars. Jiasheng Huang (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) said, "We're detecting galaxies we never expected to find, having a wide range of properties we never expected to see." Apparently, the early universe was already a wildly complex place. "It's becoming more and more clear that the young universe was a big zoo with animals of all sorts," continued Labbé. "There's as much variety in the early universe as we see around us today."
Ultimately, these studies will help to unravel how galaxies like our Milky Way assembled and how they got to look the way they appear today. The research will be published in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal (Letters).
Well, back to the old drawing board...
Yet another observation that doesn't fit into the big bang model. Add that to the super giant galaxy spiral galaxy that is some 80 times the size of the Milkyway, Galaxy structure, galaxy cluster motion. And a lot more that I can't remember.
Darwin Central will be upset. Somebody forgot to supress a jarring data point.
Wow...the universe rocks!
Once again I have to step back from all the 'mundane' posts and just boggle at the enormity of everything and think how cool it is to take part for an instant.
What the anti-science posters still don't understand -- and probably never will -- is that scientists love it when stuff like this is observed. It's an opportunity to learn more about the universe, and to improve their theories. But we'll be seeing several more posts to the effect that this is some kind of a disaster, which will cause the whole edifice of science to come crashing down.
Isn't God AWESOME!!! We can't even begin to imagine the totality of what He spoke into existence in order that we might exist as we do. If His universe is any indication, I find it easy to believe that living with Him in Eternity will not grow old or stale, but be a continuous delight.
"We were wrong"
At its most likely distance of 425 light years, its measured angular diameter yields a radius 630 times that of the Sun, 2.9 astronomical units. If placed at the Sun, the star would go 55% of the way to the orbit of the planet Jupiter. The star is so large that it is the first ever actually directly imaged as a disk from Earth (by the Hubble Space Telescope).From this website: BETELGEUSE (Alpha Orionis).
Did Judge Greer make another ruling?
It was just a house of cards you know. Now it's all collapsed, all an illusion. Perhaps my car won't start or my computer won't boot up. It's only a coincidence they've been working so far. We're melting away! Melting away! What a world!
Thanks for the ping!
Judge Greer's fault.
Reinsert the feeding tube.
FACTS change? Facts changes our outlook? No dumbocrats in this field of study ..that's for sure!
Antares would swallow up Mars. Of course red giants have another nickname as well, Red-hot vaccuum.
Betelgeuse was always one of my favorite stars to watch on the 4-8 watch when I was working the Hawaiian waters. When out at sea and miles away from artificial light sources its true magnificence shows. It changes from red to yellow to blue through the spectrum as it twinkles, a truly awesome beacon in the sky.