Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Galaxy Formation Started Much Earlier Than Expected

A Science Daily article reports that recent research into when galaxy formation started has brought to light some rather startling findings.

Astronomers have discovered a distant galaxy whose stars were born unexpectedly early in cosmic history. They found a very distant galaxy that began forming stars just 200 million years after the Big Bang. One such galaxy was observed through a gravity lens formed by a cluster of galaxies called Abell 383, without the lensing effect, the extremely distant galaxy would have been too faint to observe.

Though its not the oldest by several hundred million years, it is very unusual in that it is comprised almost totally of very old stars, unlike most of the very distant galaxies that contain mostly young bright stars. This told researchers that the galaxy was made up of stars already nearly 750 million years old -- pushing back the epoch of its formation to about 200 million years after the Big Bang, much further than had expected.

Read more here

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