Hubble Census Finds Galaxies At Redshifts 9 To 12


Credit: NASA, ESA, R. Ellis (Caltech), and the UDF 2012 Team

Credit: NASA, ESA, R. Ellis (Caltech), and the UDF 2012 Team

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have uncovered seven primitive galaxies from a distant population that formed more than 13 billion years ago. In the process, their observations have put forward a candidate for the record for the most distant galaxy found to date (at redshift 11.9), and have shed new light on the earliest years of cosmic history. The galaxies are seen as they were when the Universe was less than 4 percent of its present age.

The new data have allowed the team, co-led by Richard Ellis (Caltech, USA) and Ross McLure (University of Edinburgh, UK), to uncover six previously-unknown galaxies in this era, and to rule out a number of tentative identifications of distant galaxies made by other scientists in previous research. This is the first statistically robust census of galaxies at such an early time in cosmic history, and shows that the number of galaxies steadily increased with time, supporting the idea that the first galaxies didn’t form in a sudden burst but gradually assembled their stars.

“Our study has taken the subject forward in two ways,” says Ellis. “First, we have used Hubble to make longer exposures than previously. The added depth is essential to reliably probe the early period of cosmic history. Second, we have used Hubble’s available colour filters very effectively to measure galaxy distances more precisely.”

Full Story: http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1219/
Also: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2012/48/full/
Also: http://www.caltech.edu/content/caltech-led-astronomers-discover-galaxies-near-cosmic-dawn

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