Mysterious red galaxies

Dec 12, 2011
Mysterious red galaxies
Two images of a new class of galaxy: mysterious red galaxies. The top image, taken by the near-infrared Hubble Space Telescope, sees nothing apparent inside the red circle which locates where the red galaxy is found; the bottom image, taken by the infrared camera IRAC on the Spitzer Space Telescope, sees a bright source there, indicating the extreme redness of this distant galaxy. (The labels identify the particular instruments used to obtain the images.) Credit: J-S Huang

(PhysOrg.com) -- Perhaps the most astonishing and revolutionary discovery in cosmology was Edwin Hubble's observation that galaxies are moving away from us with velocities that are proportional to their distances.

This discovery provides the underpinning of the big bang picture of creation in which the universe is expanding, and has been doing so for 13.7 billion years. Einstein, Lemaitre and other scientists in the last century pointed out that in an expanding universe distant galaxies would appear red as a result of their apparent motions. But, while relativity does predict red galaxies, other causes of redness might also be at work. Galaxies might be very dusty, for example, since dust tends to block visible light but allow longer wavelength infrared to pass (thus making the galaxies appear reddish in color). They might be actively forming new stars, since that process heats up local dust and makes galaxies luminous in the infrared. Or, they might contain many old stars which have evolved to become red, as for example in the case of in Orion.

CfA astronomers Jiasheng Huang and Giovanni Fazio, and their four colleagues, knew they were on to something quite mysterious, however, when they spotted four galaxies in their that were so red they were completely undetectable at visible and near-infrared wavelengths. Even the was unable to detect anything, meaning that these new galaxies are as much as sixty times brighter in the infrared than at the longest wavelength to which Hubble's near-infrared camera is sensitive.

The astronomers modeled all of the various options and combinations to explain their data. They rule our that the sources are simply dusty, because then they should have been seen in other galaxy surveys. The most likely explanation so far is that these galaxies are red for a combination of three reasons: they are far enough away that their light has been traveling for more than about 12.3 billion years, they harbor a substantial amount of star formation, and they contain a significant number of old, evolved stars. While one or another of these conditions has been seen in galaxies before, this is the first time they have all been found to jointly contribute substantively.

The conclusions are notable for two other reasons. The universe was less than about one billion years old when these galaxies emitted their light, and for them to contain old stars must imply these stars formed very soon after the big bang, an important conclusion if true. Secondly, these galaxies must be quite bright and massive to be detectable at this great distance, yet finding four of them presents problems for theories of how early galaxies formed (and the initial indications are that many more will be found now that it is known they exist).

Explore further: Image: Galactic wheel of life shines in infrared

Related Stories

Strange new 'species' of ultra-red galaxy discovered

Dec 01, 2011

In the distant reaches of the universe, almost 13 billion light-years from Earth, a strange species of galaxy lay hidden. Cloaked in dust and dimmed by the intervening distance, even the Hubble Space Telescope ...

'Big baby' galaxy found in newborn Universe

Sep 28, 2005

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope have teamed up to 'weigh' the stars in distant galaxies. One of these galaxies is not only one of the most distant ever seen, but it appears to be unusually ...

Backgrounds

Jun 28, 2011

You’ve probably heard of the cosmic microwave background, but it doesn’t stop there. The as-yet-undetectable cosmic neutrino background is out there waiting to give us a view into the first seconds ...

Baby booms and birth control in space

Sep 25, 2007

Stars in galaxies are a bit similar to people: during the first phase of their existence they grow rapidly, after which a stellar birth control occurs in most galaxies. Thanks to new observations from Dutch ...

Recommended for you

Image: Galactic wheel of life shines in infrared

20 hours ago

It might look like a spoked wheel or even a "Chakram" weapon wielded by warriors like "Xena," from the fictional TV show, but this ringed galaxy is actually a vast place of stellar life. A newly released ...

New window on the early Universe

Oct 22, 2014

Scientists at the Universities of Bonn and Cardiff see good times approaching for astrophysicists after hatching a new observational strategy to distill detailed information from galaxies at the edge of ...

User comments : 36

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

kevinrtrs
1.4 / 5 (14) Dec 12, 2011
yet finding four of them presents problems for theories of how early galaxies formed

So what are the problems, exactly? Why not just spill it out instead of keeping it under wraps?
rawa1
1.4 / 5 (11) Dec 12, 2011
meaning that these new galaxies are as much as sixty times brighter in the infrared than at the longest wavelength to which Hubble's near-infrared camera is sensitive
It's similar to this one
http://stratocat....0722.htm
Last July, US astronomers announced surprising results from a high-altitude balloon experiment called ARCADE-2, which had made careful measurements of the sky at radio wavelengths. The background radio emission, which is the component smoothly distributed across the whole sky, was six-times brighter than anyone was expecting.

Anyway, the presence of well developed, still very old galaxies makes no problem for steady state model of AWT. We already observed many very distant galaxies with high metallicity. Of course, the presence of such galaxies can be explained with much faster formation of galaxies at the time, when Universe was dense and young, but the spatial separation of these galaxies doesn't support this interpretation.
A_Paradox
not rated yet Dec 12, 2011
Am I correct to assume that the value of the Hubble red shift for these galaxies is not known because the signal from each is too weak to show clearly recognisable emission or absorption lines?
rawa1
1.4 / 5 (11) Dec 12, 2011
Why not just spill it out instead of keeping it under wraps?
It's basically the same problem, like with fast adoption of cold fusion: it would save a lotta money, but it would spare many job positions too. And the people simply don't want learn the new things, not to say about lost of credit and social status. As Max Planck already noted: "Science advances one funeral at a time. A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."
Am I correct to assume that the value of the Hubble red shift for these galaxies is not known because the signal from each is too weak to show clearly recognisable emission or absorption lines?
Of course it's known - without such red shift we couldn't estimate their distance to 12.3 billion years.
MrGrynch
1.7 / 5 (9) Dec 12, 2011
Of course the article omits the contribution of Halton Arp to this mystery. As a student of Hubble he began to catalog hundred s of "anomalous" galaxies, noting that redshift values seemed to be intrinsic based on the age of the galaxy, and as such, using res-shift as a means of reliably computing distance or recessional velocity is a flawed concept. If this is true, the entire notion of the Big Bang is thrown into doubt.
gurloc
5 / 5 (3) Dec 12, 2011
You were correct A_Paradox, the red shift has NOT been accurately measured for these galaxies yet.
Shinichi D_
4 / 5 (4) Dec 12, 2011
yet finding four of them presents problems for theories of how early galaxies formed

So what are the problems, exactly? Why not just spill it out instead of keeping it under wraps?

You're right. They found evidence that the world is flat, and three thousand years old. They just dont know yet how to break the news.
Pressure2
1.5 / 5 (11) Dec 12, 2011
Quote from article: "The conclusions are notable for two other reasons. The universe was less than about one billion years old when these galaxies emitted their light, and for them to contain old stars must imply these stars formed very soon after the big bang, an important conclusion if true. Secondly, these galaxies must be quite bright and massive to be detectable at this great distance, yet finding four of them presents problems for theories of how early galaxies formed (and the initial indications are that many more will be found now that it is known they exist)."

Oh geez, is this going to require another ad-hoc fix to save the Big Bang theory?

jsdarkdestruction
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 12, 2011
umm, we've seen galaxies that must of formed 640 and 480 million yrs after the big bang before and it just mean star and galaxies started forming a bit earlier than previously estimated. saying this refutes the big bang is nonsense.
jsa09
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 12, 2011
The universe was incredibly big 13 billion years ago when these galaxies supposed to have formed. To say we have seen galaxies that formed 500 million years after BB sort of indicates that the Universe was pretty damn big even then. Now to find these galaxies that supposedly exhausted but still incredibly bright (although red) only 1 billion years after BB.

Then look at our situation. Earth 500 billion years old inside galaxy that is still white and still forming new stars with a sun still burning inside a galaxy that has been around for much of the life of the universe as well.

To read Hitchhikers Guide we live in a universe that is so incredibly big that a grain of sand for each planet in the solar system is crowded.
Shinichi D_
3 / 5 (4) Dec 12, 2011
..noting that redshift values seemed to be intrinsic based on the age of the galaxy, and as such, using res-shift as a means of reliably computing distance or recessional velocity is a flawed concept.


All galaxies are roughly the same age.

If this is true, the entire notion of the Big Bang is thrown into doubt.

No, extremely redshifted distant galaxies were an important predicton of BB theory. Now we found them.
Callippo
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 12, 2011
No, extremely redshifted distant galaxies were an important predicton of BB theory. Now we found them.
But they should be composed of young stars of low metalicity, just because they're so young. The dense clouds of interstellar gas which is shielding them poses a problem, because such dust contains many heavier elements, which could be formed only with collapse of supernovae in existing theories. Such supernovae had no time to grow and develop before 12,3 billions of years, because in L-CDM model the baryogenesis took 700 millions of years after Big Bang. These galaxies therefore got only 200 millions of years for their complete formation and generation of heavier elements in supernovaes. This is not very much at the cosmological scale. The existence of these galaxies can be still explained with some exotic processes, but it's evident, the Big Bang model is stressed with recent observations more and more, because every new observation requires to adopt some new assumptions.
Callippo
1.3 / 5 (7) Dec 12, 2011
All galaxies are roughly the same age.
The upper age of galaxies observable is always limited, because we cannot see farther, than the dark epochs of Universe formation enables.

http://en.wikiped...ark_ages

Analogously in dense aether model the observable universe appears like the water surface under the fog. You cannot see more distant boats there, because they're covered with fog.

Therefore all distant galaxies have roughly the same red shift. Maybe the installation of JWST will enable us to recognize even more distant (and older) galaxies, but I do believe, we observed them already as a shadows of CMBR in infrared spectrum, we just didn't recognized them so, because of belief in Big Bang model.

http://math.ucr.e...tars.jpg
Caliban
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 12, 2011

No, extremely redshifted distant galaxies were an important predicton of BB theory. Now we found them.

"But they should be composed of young stars of low metalicity, just because they're so young."

@Callippo

At the same time, I don't see the authors raising that issue here...if, as one supposes, the density of the matter in the early universe was much higher than later, then it would be expected that at least a few generations of nearly-pure hydrogen stars would have formed, burned and nova'd in only a few brief millions of years, with that frequency rate decreasing exponentially as the volume of the universe increased.

One would expect plenty of evolved stars(> 1 billion YO),to be present in these galaxies AND plenty of vigorous star birth, as they should be much more massive and dense than later forming ones, owing to the local effects of gravty over a given volume of more densely packed matter, as must have been the case nearer to the time of the BB.

Caliban
3 / 5 (4) Dec 12, 2011
Or, at least, that's my understanding of it.

We should expect to see these extremely distant, vigorously star-forming, redshifted galaxies in every direction we care to look....

On the other hand, if we DON'T detect them everywhere we look, then that would surely indicate a BIG PROBLEM with the BIG BANG.

Callippo
1 / 5 (3) Dec 12, 2011
On the other hand, if we DON'T detect them everywhere we look, then that would surely indicate a BIG PROBLEM with the BIG BANG.
It would pose a problem for Steady State Universe model too. If you want to falsify some theory into account of another one, you should seek the aspects, which are different for both theories, not the same.
.if, as one supposes, the density of the matter in the early universe was much higher than later, then it would be expected that at least a few generations of nearly-pure hydrogen stars would have formed, burned
I know about this explanation, but such fast evolving galaxies would be very radiative and densely arranged. Instead of it, the remote galaxies are relatively sparse and dim.
kevinrtrs
1.9 / 5 (10) Dec 13, 2011
The universe was less than about one billion years old when these galaxies emitted their light, and for them to contain old stars must imply these stars formed very soon after the big bang, an important conclusion if true.

So, more OLD stars in supposedly really far distanced galaxies, when in theory the further we look, the younger or less mature things should appear?
MarkyMark
2.7 / 5 (3) Dec 13, 2011
The universe was less than about one billion years old when these galaxies emitted their light, and for them to contain old stars must imply these stars formed very soon after the big bang, an important conclusion if true.

So, more OLD stars in supposedly really far distanced galaxies, when in theory the further we look, the younger or less mature things should appear?
I love how you quote a passage from an article and deliberatly misunderstand what it says ;)
Shinichi D_
4 / 5 (4) Dec 13, 2011
@Callippo:
The upper age of galaxies observable is always limited, because we cannot see farther, than the dark epochs of Universe formation enables.

I think you just referred to the BB theory. :)
A static universe doesn't need (and I think can not have by concept) epochs in the plural. The universe (static or expanding) can not cool down like a cup of coffee, like radiating heat to the outside. There is no "outside". It can only cool down=evolve from epoch to epoch by expanding. If a static universe is in the dark epoch, it will always be like that. Because it's static.

..will enable us to recognize even more distant (and older) galaxies, but I do believe, we observed them already as a shadows of CMBR in infrared spectrum, we just didn't recognized them so, because of belief in Big Bang model.


Or those shadows are the echo of density fluctuations of the early universe, we just didn't recognized them so, because of belief there was no inflation.

rawa1
1 / 5 (7) Dec 13, 2011
I think you just referred to the BB theory.
Of course, I just explained, what the BB and Steady State Universe models have in common. The distance limit of observability of remote objects belongs into both of them.
There is no "outside".
In dense aether model this is simply redundant assumption. The observer who us using ripples at the water surface for the observation of remote object cannot see after certain distance limit too because of ripple dispersion, but it doesn't mean, the water surface ends there.

Isaac Newton: "Hypotheses non fingo" ("I don't invent a hypothesis").

Why to assume, the Universe ends with particle horizon, when I'm not required to do so? This is religious stance and it violates the Copernican principle. Why the Universe should end at the surface of sphere, which surrounds just us, insignificant human observers? It's another version of naive religious geocentric model and it faces the very same destiny.
rawa1
1 / 5 (6) Dec 13, 2011
those shadows are the echo of density fluctuations of the early universe
Echo concept implies, something is bouncing from something. What are you talking here about exactly? The article talks about "light of first stars". If you have your own hypothesis for this effect, you should explain it in its entirety.
Shinichi D_
3 / 5 (2) Dec 13, 2011
those shadows are the echo of density fluctuations of the early universe
Echo concept implies, something is bouncing from something.


I didn't use the word "echo" in that sense. Just as Callippo didn't use "shadow" in the sense we usualy do it in the everyday life.

What are you talking here about exactly? The article talks about "light of first stars".


And ripples on the surface of water it seems.

Shinichi D_
3.8 / 5 (6) Dec 13, 2011
Why to assume, the Universe ends with particle horizon, when I'm not required to do so? This is religious stance and it violates the Copernican principle. Why the Universe should end at the surface of sphere, which surrounds just us, insignificant human observers?


I never said that. Actually you and Callippo, and kevin are the type of people who can't accept some theories like the inflationary expansion of space, or the uncertainty of quantum mechanics for some reason.

In dense aether model this is simply redundant assumption.
See?
You are who made up a "surface of sphere" type universe for yourself, with safe, fixed rules, adding that your sphere is soooooo huge, sooooo old, sooooo static, but constantly changing too, full of aether, ripples of water, five dimensional segmented eyes, that we can't see the edge, therefore it doesn't have one.
"My better is better than your better" is not a scientific explanation.
rawa1
1 / 5 (3) Dec 13, 2011
.. people who can't accept some theories like the inflationary expansion of space, or the uncertainty of quantum mechanics for some reason..
I can explain them with another, more general theory. This is way better, than some religious acceptance without deeper reasons.
..you are who made up a "surface of sphere" type universe for yourself..
You apparently even cannot understand the motivations of dense aether model, i.e. why it was introduced to limit number of ad-hoced assumptions of other theories. AWT doesn't consider observable Universe a sphere, it just explains, why it appears so.
Shinichi D_
1 / 5 (1) Dec 13, 2011
I do not accept anything uncritically, im not "religios" in that sense, nor the classic sense of the word.
The observable universe is the part what *appears* to the observer at all. If it appears spherical, then the observable universe is spherical. And I too can explain why it appears so.
Can we drop this sphere thing? I do not (NOT!) belive we are in the center of a 13 billion ly radius fireball expanding at lightspeed, with a gamma ray shockwave in front of it. I don't think anyone here belives that.

"You apparently even cannot understand the motivations of dense aether model, i.e. why it was introduced to limit number of ad-hoced assumptions of other theories."

I can understand what you want, but modified versions of GR can be considered new, better theories, that retain the positives like all the predictions that were proved correct. people usually ignore how fantastic it still works . Even with dark matter and energy questions factored in.
DarkHorse66
3 / 5 (4) Dec 14, 2011
@Shinichi D: Just so that you know (and don't get confused), Rawa1 and Callippo are one and the same person. He has already openly admitted to having more than one 'handle' and will swap freely between them in mid-conversation. You will also find that most (if not all) of his posts will contain some kind of reference to his favourite hobby-horse, the aether model, if he can get it in - somehow. Welcome to the physorg family; you'll just need to learn how to handle some very 'difficult' relatives. ;] Best Regards, DH66
bue
1.5 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2011
@kevinrts,

"So what are the problems, exactly? Why not just spill it out instead of keeping it under wraps?"

Kevin, I think it is a very big problem that the BB model will not be able to overcome. The problem is that in the beginning of the universe, according to the BB model, already very old galaxies existed. This entirely contradicts the BB model and totally supports a steady-state model or that a finite universe that is many times older than what the BB model could allow.

@rawa1,

I think all your comments are valid. I read a different article claiming their distance to be 13G light years.

@ A paradox,

They believe they have properly identified these galaxies redshifts to be about 6.7 , at a distance of about 13G light years. This article says 12.3G light years. In the big picture of things I think there is not much difference.

bue
3 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2011
MrGrynch,

As for myself, I am a big fan of Arp concerning some quasars not having cosmological distances that some as their redshifts would otherwise indicate, which was his main theme, but his theory of galactic evolution concerning all galaxies, I think, is difficult to defend regarding evidence.

Callipo,

..if, as one supposes, the density of the matter in the early universe was much higher than latera

This of course is the basis for an expanding universe and the BB model, but there is absolutely no observational evidence to support this proposal that I have ever heard of.

Caliban,

We should expect to see these extremely distant, vigorously star-forming, redshifted galaxies in every direction we care to look....On the other hand, if we DON'T detect them everywhere we look, then that would surely indicate a BIG PROBLEM with the BIG BANG.

I agree

Shinichi D,

Good comments but I think the above observations are a good example of big problems with the entire BB model.
Shinichi D_
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 14, 2011
DarkHorse66: Thank you.

bue:
..The problem is that in the beginning of the universe, according to the BB model, already very old galaxies existed.

According to the BB theory no structures, especialy not galaxies existed "already" in the beginning. Star and galaxy formation started at a later point.

New observations indicate, that the rate of early star and galaxy formation was somewhat underestimated indeed. But not the expansion rate of the universe. It was not determined by how evolved distant galaxies seem. But there is still enough time for these to form. Star formation begun (?)150-300(?) million years after BB. Thats 13.6 - 13.4 billion(G) y. ago.

at a distance of about 13G light years. This article says 12.3G light years. In the big picture of things I think there is not much difference..


There is. the 13G lightyears version is a bit streching of starformation theories (not the BB in general). 12.3 provides more than enough time.
bue
not rated yet Dec 14, 2011
DarkHorse66,

"According to the BB theory no structures, especially not galaxies existed "already" in the beginning. Star and galaxy formation started at a later point."

Of course you are correct but the above observations, in my opinion, seems to indicate that these were fully formed old galaxies maybe more than 13G years old, 13G years ago. The point is IMO that these galaxies seem to totally contradict the BB model.

The other very big BB problem is the density of the universe. For instance 7 billion years ago the universe should have been 8 times more dense based upon an expanding universe. This is also a very large contradiction of observation to theory IMO. So far they have seen the exact same kinds and variations of galaxies in the early universe as they see in our local universe. I have collected many such contradictory observations over the years. Soon after the James Webb goes up I believe we will realize our mistakes and investigate alternative theory.
Callippo
1 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2011
you'll just need to learn how to handle some very 'difficult' relatives.
Thank you for your kind introducing me. Anyway, the actual names are irrelevant in matter of fact discussion, only the arguments. The more the discussion is close to social club, the more it requires name calling and distinguishing between posters.
13G lightyears version is a bit streching of starformation theories (not the BB in general). 12.3 provides more than enough time

The conceptual problem with Big Bang is more serious, as it violates Copernican principle. There is no actual reason for all galaxies to begin form just at the distance of 12.3 GLyrs from rather insignificant human observers. Why we should be just at the center of Universe? I can admit, the light need some time for its travel - but why all galaxies should form just at the particle horizon? Isn't it just another strange coincidence?
Shinichi D_
1 / 5 (1) Dec 14, 2011
You missed the - not(NOT!) - part in one of my previous posts. Observations are not limited by distance, they are limited by time elapsed. We (almost certainly) won't find objects like stars or galaxies with higher redshift (older) than the CMBR. Not because there is the end of the world and we would fall down from the edge, but simply because fotons had that much time to travel at all.
Graeme
not rated yet Dec 14, 2011
The galaxy to the lower left may be contributing a dust based absorption of the light. We can see that this other galxy is much larger in the Spitzer image than in the NIR, and probably overlaps the invisible galaxy too.
Callippo
1 / 5 (1) Dec 14, 2011
Not because there is the end of the world and we would fall down from the edge, but simply because photons had that much time to travel at all.
Well, exactly. Isn't just a bit strange, Big Bang theory considers, the Universe has been formed just a few millions of years before the light had no time to travel to us? Apparently, the singularity and inflation concepts are redundant from this perspective. It could happen a much earlier, if at all. These well developed galaxies could exist many years before the light had a time for its travel. Just the finite speed of light is able to explain, why we cannot see farther... OK, why not - but why to put the beginning of the Universe right there? The Universe can be still infinite, which would explain, these distant galaxies don't differ with its composition from the present ones.
Callippo
1.5 / 5 (4) Dec 14, 2011
Dense aether theory considers, the light spreads with different speed, depending to its wavelength, the radiowaves are spreading faster, than the light of shorter wavelengths, which is dispersing more with density fluctuations. This model actually doesn't violate the special relativity, when the longer path of light (which is zigzaging around myriads of tiny gravitational lens, which are filling the vacuum) is taken into acount.

http://www.aether...vity.gif

It explains, why we can see the more distant galaxies just with using of infrared light and why the Universe background is full of strong radiowave sources. It's because the particle horizon exists at different distance from human observers, depending on the wavelength of light.
Callippo
1 / 5 (3) Dec 14, 2011
The Big Bang theory with its singularity and inflation will get into scene only if we would consider another aspect of light dispersion with tiny density fluctuations of vacuum. Because these density fluctuations slow down the speed of light, the light takes a longer time to move through them, the more it's dispersed and so on, in avalanche like way. At the certain distance from human observer the space-time would contract heavily. This gradual contraction is actually observable already as so-called dark energy, but the speed of Universe expansion is rather low. It means, if the inflation ever happened, it must happened a way before the light of distant galaxies took its travel. It's possible to extrapolate the accelerated speed of Universe backward into time with using of exponential function and to estimate the age of inflation. It's at least 250x more distant, than the existing Big Bang model considers.

http://www.techno...iv/26333