The cosmic infrared background

August 13, 2012
The cosmic infrared background
A computer simulation of the development of giant filaments of galaxies in the very early universe. Recent observations of the cosmic infrared background, the remnant radiation from many of these stars, provides support for current cosmological models. Credit: Jenkins; ApJ

(Phys.org) -- The cosmic infrared background is the collective infrared radiation emitted by cosmic sources throughout the history of the universe, including sources inaccessible to current telescopes. The latter category, for example, includes the very first generation of stars, currently a subject of intense investigations. Because of the relative uniformity of this background, which is faint and might be interpreted as instrumental noise, fluctuations in it can often be more readily discerned than the actual background level itself. This property also lets astronomers discriminate against the significant foreground contributions from the solar system and our galaxy.

CfA astronomers Matt Ashby and Giovanni Fazio joined with four colleagues to use the superb sensitivity and stability of the (IRAC) on the to probe the . They worked with very deep IRAC images of the sky, over an area of about 0.2 square degrees, that had been taken in a different program designed to study more recently formed but still very distant galaxies.

After meticulously accounting for known stars, diffuse emission, and known galaxies, the scientists found large structural features (fluctuations) consistent with their having been produced by the first generation of stars dating from an epoch more than twelve billion years ago. These early stars, at least according to the best current models of cosmic evolution, were not uniformly distributed across space. They formed as part of stupendous, filamentary structures that evolved and grew from the tiny ripples in hot gas that pervaded the universe soon after the big bang. The results of this new paper lend support both to the current theory of the large scale structure of the universe and to our ideas about how the first generation stars formed.

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7 comments

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Karl Kognition
not rated yet Aug 13, 2012
Just a reminder? Or is this further confirmation? I don't see any new information here.
Satene
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 13, 2012
You're right - the imprints of the "first generation of stars" were observed many years before with Spitzer telescope. I would be very careful to interpret it as a confirmation of Big Bang cosmology, though.
Ventilator
not rated yet Aug 13, 2012
I should think this would be helpful to others.

My reasoning is thus: without seeing the canvas, one cannot perceive the painting on it.

Basically, the UCMBR (Universal Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation) is what we know to be the left over reverberations within the observable universe from the Big Bang (no matter the cause), supernovae, and early black holes.

What I want to know is what else contributes to it? It's like we're in a sea of radiation within the universe, and our little vessel (the heliosphere) seems to be bobbing along just fine.

I personally just hope we continue to observe, and develop better electromagnetic radiation shielding, once the two Voyager probes start to beam back the interstellar medium.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
3.9 / 5 (7) Aug 13, 2012
¨Nice!

@ KK:

The earlier results couldn't resolve and test for structure formation, as I understand it.

@ Satene:

Science denialist much, and why are you then commenting on science and in such a destructive fashion, making suggestions that are nonsense at best and can be misconstrued by others at worst? The scientists were not hesitating as declaring it as yet another successful test for standrad cosmology, which of course it is.
rah
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 13, 2012
So they "enhanced" a fuzzy spot and created a story to go with it. Egggcellent! Enhance more!
SatanLover
1 / 5 (3) Aug 13, 2012
enhance
enhance
enhance
enhance
enhance
enhance

ValeriaT
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 13, 2012
The scientists were not hesitating as declaring it as yet another successful test for standard cosmology, which of course it is.
Of course? I don't see any evidence of standard cosmology here. Do you?

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