Fireworks In The Early Universe


Artist impression (ESA/NASA/RUG
/MarcelZinger)

Galaxies in the early universe grew fast by rapidly making new stars. Such prodigious star formation episodes, characterized by the intense radiation of the newborn stars, were often accompanied by fireworks in the form of energy bursts caused by the massive central black hole accretion in these galaxies. This discovery by a group of astronomers led by Peter Barthel of the Kapteyn Institute of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands is published today in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Until recently these distant active galaxies were only interesting in their own right as peculiar exotic objects. Little was known about the composition of their galaxies, or their relationship to the normal galaxy population. However, in 2009 ESA’s Herschel space telescope was launched. Herschel is considerably larger than NASA’s Hubble, and operates at far-infrared wavelengths. This enables Herschel to detect heat radiation generated by the processes involved in the formation of stars and planets at a small scale, and of complete galaxies at a large scale.

Full Story: http://www.rug.nl/corporate/nieuws/archief/archief2012/nieuwsberichten/126-barthel

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