Scientists map ”3D book of Universe”March 11th, 2009 - 1:53 pm ICT by ANI
Munich, March 11 (ANI): Using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and ESOs Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have, in a way, prepared a unique history book of our Universe, with exceptional 3D views of distant galaxies, seen when the Universe was half its current age.
By looking at this unique history book of our Universe, at an epoch when the Sun and the Earth did not yet exist, scientists hope to solve the puzzle of how galaxies formed in the remote past.
With the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope in the early 1990s, astronomers were able to scrutinize the structure of distant galaxies in some detail for the first time.
Under the superb skies of Paranal, the VLTs FLAMES/GIRAFFE spectrograph, which obtains simultaneous spectra from small areas of extended objects, can now also resolve the motions of the gas in these distant galaxies.
This unique combination of Hubble and the VLT allows us to model distant galaxies almost as nicely as we can close ones, said Francois Hammer, who led the team.
In effect, FLAMES/GIRAFFE now allows us to measure the velocity of the gas at various locations in these objects. This means that we can see how the gas is moving, which provides us with a three-dimensional view of galaxies halfway across the Universe, he added.
The team has undertaken the Herculean task of reconstituting the history of about one hundred remote galaxies that have been observed with both Hubble and GIRAFFE on the VLT.
The first results are coming in and have already provided useful insights for three galaxies.
In one galaxy, GIRAFFE revealed a region full of ionized gas, that is, hot gas composed of atoms that have been stripped of one or several electrons.
This is normally due to the presence of very hot, young stars.
Another galaxy that the astronomers studied showed the opposite effect. There, they discovered a bluish central region enshrouded in a reddish disc, almost completely hidden by dust.
The models indicate that gas and stars could be spiraling inwards rapidly, said Hammer.
Finally, in a third galaxy, the astronomers identified a very unusual, extremely blue, elongated structure - a bar - composed of young, massive stars, rarely observed in nearby galaxies.
According to Mathieu Puech, lead author of one of the papers reporting this study, The unique combination of Hubble and FLAMES/GIRAFFE at the VLT makes it possible to model distant galaxies in great detail, and reach a consensus on the crucial role of galaxy collisions for the formation of stars in a remote past. (ANI)
- Hubble discovers 'most distant and ancient galaxy ever seen' - Jan 27, 2011
- Cosmos 250 times bigger than visible universe - Feb 03, 2011
- Beautiful spiral galaxies were 'ugly ducklings' 6 bln yrs ago - Feb 05, 2010
- Hubble discovers new, all-water planet - Feb 22, 2012
- Scientists find galaxy cluster aged 3bn yrs, but still very young - Mar 10, 2011
- How young galaxies can grow gently - Oct 14, 2010
- Galaxies 'formed much earlier than thought' - Apr 13, 2011
- Hubble telescope spots dwarf galaxies - Nov 11, 2011
- Researcher computes universe's expansion speed - Jul 28, 2011
- Hubble astronomers discover an overheated early universe - Oct 08, 2010
- Ancient galaxies come together after 10 billion years - Feb 19, 2010
- NASA telescopes discover most distant galaxy cluster - Jan 13, 2011
- Astronomers spot the faintest ever galaxy - Jun 03, 2012
- Thick disc of older stars discovered in nearby Andromeda galaxy - Feb 16, 2011
- New way to peer at hidden distant galaxies - Nov 05, 2010
Tags: 3d views, across the universe, atoms, dimensional view, distant galaxies, electrons, flames, giraffe, herculean task, history book, hubble space telescope, launch, march 11, motions, nasa, spectra, spectrograph, velocity, vlts, young stars