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Duo of titanic galaxies captured in extreme starbursting merger

Bringing some of the mysteries of the universe a little closer to home.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:20 pm

New observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have uncovered the never-before-seen close encounter between two astoundingly bright and spectacularly massive galaxies in the early universe. These so-called hyper-luminous starburst galaxies are exceedingly rare at this epoch of cosmic history—near the time when galaxies first formed—and may represent one of the most-extreme examples of violent star formation ever observed.

Astronomers captured these two interacting galaxies, collectively known as ADFS-27, as they began the gradual process of merging into a single, massive elliptical galaxy. An earlier sideswiping encounter between the two helped to trigger their astounding bursts of star formation. Astronomers speculate that this merger may eventually form the core of an entire galaxy cluster. Galaxy clusters are among the most massive structures in the universe.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:22 pm

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Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF, B. Saxton; ESA Herschel; ESO APEX; ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO); D. Riechers

Composite image of ADFS-27 galaxy pair. The background image is from ESA's Herschel Space Observatory. The object was then detected by ESO's Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX) telescope (middle image). ALMA (right) was able to identify two galaxies: ADFS-27N (for North) and ADFS-27S (for South). The starbursting galaxies are about 12.8 billion light-years from Earth and destined to merge into a single, massive galaxy.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:24 pm

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Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF

Artist impression of two starbursting galaxies beginning to merge in the early universe.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:26 pm



The earliest galaxies in the 13.8 billion-year history of our cosmos started to take shape a few hundred million years after the Big Bang, as matter flowed towards increasingly denser spots and as the first stars were igniting into life.
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Owlscrying
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Unread post Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:28 pm



Scrutinising several hundred thousand galaxies observed at infrared and submillimetre wavelengths by ESA’s Herschel space observatory, astronomers have identified a very rare instance of a massive object in the very early Universe.

This video initially shows the Herschel survey of galaxies (blue and green) and zooms in to the interesting source that the astronomers had singled out, including follow-up observations performed with the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX; red).

Finally, the video shows further observations obtained with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) at higher resolution. These observations revealed that the source consists not just of one ancient, massive galaxy, but of a pair of distinct massive galaxies about to merge.

These two galaxies, each roughly as massive as our Milky Way, were informally dubbed the ‘Horse’ and the ‘Dragon’.

 
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