Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bizzare Galaxy Astronomers are Iconoclasitc About Almost Illegally Churns-Out Stars

A galaxy discovered by Bahram Mobasher and his graduate student Hooshang Nayyeri from University of California, does not conform to the unwritten universal "laws" that state that a galaxy as old as it is, should not be able to produce as much star formation as has been producing. Why such a "crime"? GN-108036, the name of the galaxy, is approximately 12.9 billion light years away, meaning it is very young. As galaxies mature, they can start producing more stars; this galaxy is very young, but it is accomplishing what a mature galaxy ought to produce. This poses a serious question on the problem of the age of the universe, which always has been a  controversial aspect of astronomy.

GN-108036 (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI/University of Tokyo)
Research done with the Hubble and Spitzer Telescopes, the researchers found that GN-108036 has a high star production rate, correlative to approximately on-hundred suns every year. Although our galaxy (Milky Way) is much larger in size, it makes about thirty percent less than GN-108036, and is much older than this galactic star factory. Astronomers were literally startled at is presence, because it is very young, doing a mature galaxies' work, periodically out-bursting the creation of new stars. It was only discovered during such an outburst.

It was at this time when Spitzer's help significantly added to the research done on this object. Spitzer's designed use of infrared cameras and optics were definitely "crucial for measuring the galaxy's star-formation activity," as Science Daily explains. "The high rate of star formation found for GN-108036 implies that it was rapidly building up its mass some 750 million years after the Big Bang, when the universe was only about five percent of its present age," said Mobasher (a professor of physics and astronomy). "This was therefore a likely ancestor of massive and evolved galaxies seen today."

What perhaps most astonished astronomers was the redshift number of GN-108036. At 7.2, being very high, GN-108036 has become the third farthest object* with a redshift of over 7 (others have greater redshifts, though are not as far). In October of 2010, a galaxy was reported to have a redshift of 8.6, called UDFy-38135539, one of the highest recording so far; as for comparison. In another fashion of words, GN-108036 is an extremely rare galaxy, and nothing can change its youthful entrepreneurship.

[The researchers report their findings in the Astrophysical Journal. Other authors include: Kyle Penner and Benjamin J. Weiner of the University of Arizona, Tucson; Yoshiaki Ono, Kazuhiro Shimasaku and Kimihiko Nakajima of the University of Tokyo; Mark Dickinson and Jeyhan S. Kartaltepe of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Ariz.; Daniel Stern of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif.; Nobunari Kashikawa of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan; and Hyron Spinrad of UC Berkeley.]

*This will change as new galaxies/objects are discovered. 
Young Star Rebels Against Its Parent Cloud

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