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Mapping Galaxy Formation in Dual Mode

A team of astronomers led by David Sobral (Leiden Observatory and Royal Observatory of Edinburgh) has explored the synergies between the Subaru Telescope and the United Kingdom Infra-Red Telescope (UKIRT) to locate numerous distant galaxies in the ancient universe and investigate their star formation activity. By combining narrow-band filter (Note 1) observations from both the Subaru Telescope and the UKIRT, the team has been able to obtain clean panoramic maps of parts of the distant universe about 9 billion years ago. This dual mode of surveying faint galaxies provides a powerful technique for selecting and studying star-forming galaxies during their formation and evolution.

Astronomers rely on detailed observations of astronomical objects outside of our own Milky Way Galaxy to understand how galaxies developed into what they are today. By comparing the properties of galaxies at different ages of the Universe, scientists can investigate their formation and evolution. However, current samples of the distant Universe lack the size and volume to answer such questions as: When was the peak of galaxy formation activity? Which physical processes propelled such activity? The current research team has developed and applied a technique for overcoming some common problems: a) missing many galaxies by looking at only one emission line and b) contamination of findings by less accurate measurements of galaxy distance and properties.

Full Story: http://www.subarutelescope.org/Pressrelease/2012/03/27/index.html

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