viernes, 10 de octubre de 2008

Cosmic Eye Sheds Light On Early Galaxy Formation

Taken from Science News
Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and their colleagues have provided unique insight into the nature of a young star-forming galaxy as it appeared only two billion years after the Big Bang and determined how the galaxy may eventually evolve to become a system like our own Milky Way.
The team made their observations by coupling two techniques, gravitational lensing--which makes use of an effect first predicted by Albert Einstein in which the gravitational field of massive objects, such as foreground galaxies, bends light rays from objects located a distance behind, thus magnifying the appearance of distant sources.
Using the Hubble Space Telescope, the team located a distinctive galaxy dubbed the "Cosmic Eye" because its form is distorted into a ring-shaped structure by the gravitational field of a foreground galaxy.
"Gravity has effectively provided us with an additional zoom lens, enabling us to study this distant galaxy on scales approaching only a few hundred light-years. This is 10 times finer sampling than hitherto possible", explains postdoctoral research scholar Dan Stark of Caltech, the leader of the study. "As a result, we can see, for the first time, that a typical-sized young galaxy is spinning and slowly evolving into a spiral galaxy much like our own Milky Way", he says.

To know more got to Science Daily

Nature paper