Astronomers map brightest galaxies and more in the news

December 7, 2012  |   |  Comments
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A 3D projection image of 300 galaxies

A 3D projection of almost 300 galaxies in the census in the same part of the sky. The third dimension shows how many billions of years back in time we are seeing each galaxy, determined by observations from the Keck Observatory. At top are images from the Hubble Space Telescope of five galaxies in the census. Credit: ESA-C. Carreau

A group of astronomers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, the U.S. mainland, Canada, and Europe recently used the twin telescopes of the W.M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea to conduct a census of the brightest, but until now unseen, galaxies in the distant universe, bringing astronomers one step closer to understanding how galaxies form and evolve.

These galaxies glow so brightly at infrared wavelengths that they would outshine the Milky Way by hundreds, maybe thousands, of times. They are forming stars so quickly that between 100 and 500 new stars are born in each galaxy every year, and have been coined “starbursts” by astronomers.

While it’s not clear what gives these galaxies their intense luminosity, it could be the result of a collision between two spiral-type galaxies, similar to the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxies. They could also be in a particularly gas-rich region of space, where galaxies form stars quickly due to constant bombardment from gas and dust.

Read the news release or learn more about the research as featured by Space Daily.

UH in the News for November 30–December 6, 2012

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Category: Research, UH in the News

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