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Astronomers discover most distant known galaxy

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#1 Hum

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 02:36

Just 700 million years after the big bang, our most distant known galaxy was a cauldron of star production, churning out new suns hundreds of times faster than our own Milky Way galaxy, scientists say.

But it was only this spring, roughly 13 billion years later, that astronomers first glimpsed evidence of this ferocious activity and confirmed the distance and age of the galaxy now designated as z8_GND_5296.

In a paper published Tuesday in the journal Nature, researchers said discovery of the galaxy suggested our early universe was capable of far more star production than previously believed.

"Such a galaxy is unexpected," wrote lead study author Steven Finkelstein, an assistant professor of astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin. "The early universe may harbor a larger number of intense sites of star formation than expected."

Radiant energy, including visible light, travels no faster than 186,000 miles per second. Since it took that energy almost 13 billion years to travel from z8_GND_5296 to the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, researchers can only study the galaxy as it was in its infancy.

It would appear very different if we were to glimpse its form in real time, scientists say.

"Such a galaxy would be very massive today and, having exhausted its supply of gas, would not be able to form many stars at the current time," said study coauthor Naveen Reddy, an assistant professor of astronomy and physics at UC Riverside.

In order to determine the galaxy's age and distance from Earth, scientists study its so-called redshift, or the lengthening wavelengths of energy emitted by its stars over great distances. The higher the redshift, the greater the distance.

It's only recently, however, that technology has advanced to the point that high redshifts can be studied. In the case of z8_GND_5296, scientists used Keck's MOSFIRE, the Multi-Object Spectrometer for Infra-Red Exploration, for this purpose.

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artist's conception below v

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#2 spacer

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 02:53

That is pretty impressive. The picture is pretty cool. I wonder what the galaxy looks like now.



#3 OP Hum

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 03:03

^ The picture is an artist's conception --- not a telescope photograph. ;)



#4 Skin

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 03:14

That is pretty impressive. The picture is pretty cool. I wonder what the galaxy looks like now.

 

After so long, some stars would have since burned out and maybe gone supernova... I wager the galaxy looks very different and possibly 'shredded' now.



#5 Growled

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 13:12

 The picture is pretty cool. I wonder what the galaxy looks like now.

 

I sure would like to know and we never will. 



#6 Mr.XXIV

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 13:14

After so long, some stars would have since burned out and maybe gone supernova... I wager the galaxy looks very different and possibly 'shredded' now.

 

Whenever I think of a supernova, I think of a game like FreeSpace 2, I don't think I wanna visit a soon-gone-supernova by accident at any time..



#7 spacer

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 13:21

^ The picture is an artist's conception --- not a telescope photograph. ;)

I know. It's either that or a composite image with post-processing coloring like most deep space images. It's still cool.  :D



#8 Zirus

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 13:24

That is pretty impressive. The picture is pretty cool. I wonder what the galaxy looks like now.

 

 

^ The picture is an artist's conception --- not a telescope photograph. ;)

 

 

I always feel so ripped off when news articles post the 'artist conception' of space objects. I want to see the real thing damn it! It's like the Eagle Nebula, IMO, one of the most spectacular sights in the universe all on it's own; I don't want to see what some dude thinks it looks like.

 

So, with that said, here is a pic of the real thing... http://www.telegraph...laxy-found.html



#9 OP Hum

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 23:21

^ Rather difficult to have a photograph of 'thee most distant' galaxy -- don't you think so ?

 

The artist usually draws the illustration based on the information the astronomers give him/her.

 

Until we have a practical way of traveling there, all we have is our imagination. ;)



#10 DocM

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 00:01

Raw image, heavily red-shifted because of the Doppler effect.

image_1488_2-galaxy.jpg

#11 Zirus

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 00:37

^ Rather difficult to have a photograph of 'thee most distant' galaxy -- don't you think so ?

 

The artist usually draws the illustration based on the information the astronomers give him/her.

 

Until we have a practical way of traveling there, all we have is our imagination. ;)

umm, Hum? You know I linked to the telescope image right? and DocM blew it up... so what are you trying to say exactly?



#12 OP Hum

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 02:47

^ The photo is a mere blob of light.

 

It could be anything.

 

I was pointing out that all we can do is imagine the detailed view -- if the 'galaxy' still exists.



#13 DocM

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 02:53

The analog/digital data allows the detailed simulation, much like the imagery from radio telescopes.

#14 Growled

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 02:14

Raw image, heavily red-shifted because of the Doppler effect.

image_1488_2-galaxy.jpg

 

That doesn't look nearly as impressive as the first picture.



#15 DocM

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 03:54

Not optically, but that's because of your physiological limits not the data which covers the visible and invisible. The simulation image largely corrects for that. Similar corrections / processing is done to Hubble images.