Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Hubble Uncovers One of the Youngest and Brightest Galaxies in the Early Universe

Hubble Uncovers One of the Youngest and Brightest Galaxies in the Early Universe

A massive cluster of yellowish galaxies is seemingly caught in a spider's web of eerily distorted background galaxies in the first image, taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard NASA/European Space Agency Hubble Space Telescope.

The gravity of the cluster's trillion stars acts as a cosmic "zoom lens", bending and magnifying the light of the galaxies located far behind it, a technique called gravitational lensing. The faraway galaxies appear in the Hubble image as arc-shaped objects around the cluster, named Abell 1689. The increased magnification allows astronomers to study remote galaxies in greater detail.

One galaxy is so far away, however, it does not show up in the visible-light image taken with ACS (top, right), because its light is stretched to invisible infrared wavelengths by the Universe's expansion.

Astronomers used Hubble's Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope with its Infrared Array Camera (IRAC)—with help from the gravitational lensing cluster—to see the faraway galaxy.

The distant galaxy, dubbed A1689-zD1, appears as a greyish-white smudge in the close-up view taken with Hubble's NICMOS (center, right), and as a whitish blob in the Spitzer IRAC close-up view (bottom, right). The galaxy is brimming with star birth. Hubble and Spitzer worked together to show that it is one of the youngest galaxies ever discovered. Astronomers estimate that the galaxy is 13 billion light-years away. Abell 1689 is 2.2 billion light-years away.

A1689-zD1 was born during the middle of the "dark ages", a period in the early universe when the first stars and galaxies were just beginning to burst to life. The dark ages lasted from about 400,000 to roughly a billion years after the Big Bang. Astronomers think that A1689-zD1 was one of the galaxies that helped end the dark ages.

The ACS images inserted into the first picture were taken in 2002, the NICMOS images in 2005 and 2007, and the Spitzer IRAC images in 2006.

In the second image, the view includes infrared light images from the WFC3 instrument on the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope as well as visible light views. It shows a close up look at part of the rich galaxy cluster Abell 1689. The huge concentration of mass bends light coming from more distant objects and can increase their total apparent brightness and make them visible. One such object, A1689-zD1, appears on this picture as the elongated reddish object in the box.

New observations with ALMA and ESO’s VLT have revealed that A1689-zD1 is a dusty galaxy seen when the Universe was just 700 million years old. Its light has been magnified by a factor of more than nine by the massive gravitational lensing effect of the cluster.

Image 1 Credit: NASA; ESA; L. Bradley (Johns Hopkins University); R. Bouwens (University of California, Santa Cruz); H. Ford (Johns Hopkins University); and G. Illingworth (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Release Date: February 12, 2008

Image 2 Credit: European Southern Observatory (ESO)/J. Richard

Release Date: March 2, 2015

#NASA #ESA #ESO #Hubble #Astronomy #Space #Science #Galaxies #Galaxy #A1689zD1 #GalaxyCluster #Abell1689 #GravitationalLensing #Virgo #Constellation #Cosmos #Universe #SpaceTelescopes #Spitzer #Chile #Europe #Infographic #STEM #Education

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