Galaxies produced stars shortly after Big Bang

Mar 17, 2013

With the help of the Antarctic's South Pole Telescope and the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) radio telescope, Scientists were able to discover something amazing in the field of Astronomy. The scientists discovered that there was a "baby boom" of stars very soon after the Big Bang. The scientists discovered stars 12 billion light years away, an interesting observation considering the universe is 13.7 billion years old.

The scientists discovered that there were many star-forming galaxies, called Starburst Galaxies, that existed only 1 billion years after the Big Bang. These galaxies rapidly produced stars at a rate of 4000 per year, which completely outpaces our galaxy's production of 1 star per year. Yashar Hezaveh, who lead one of the studies, stated that "there might have been very large scale galaxy formation and star formation that might have happened earlier than we thought."

Hezaveh, and the other scientists, believe that the discovery of these new stars may help them understand what "caused the formation of these galaxies." Some astronomers believe that these stars were made at rapid pace because of an abundance of cold gas. The astronomers used gravitational lensing, a process in which light bends while passing through a gravitational field in a galaxy or other massive objects, to observe the distant galaxies that they wouldn't have been able to see otherwise.

The gravitational lensing distorts the images that the scientists are observing, so Hezaveh has to work on correcting these distortions in order to get a more accurate view of the galaxies. He, and the other scientists, hope to discover even more galaxies with the ALMA telescope. They have currently discovered 26 Starburst galaxies, but they hope to boost that number to 100. Along with discovering more Starburst galaxies, the scientists are even more excited to possibly image dark matter, which is said to make up 80% of all matter in the universe, and measure its properties.

[via CBC]

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