Discovery refutes previous theory about galaxies

October 11, 2011 by Javier Pérez Barbuzano, University of Florida

(PhysOrg.com) -- The world’s largest optical telescope has allowed University of Florida astronomers to see new details about deep space galaxies, finding new clues to explain the evolution of galaxies like our own.

Before these new observations, it was believed that in the young universe were much denser and compact than they are now, undergoing at some point a mysterious transformation growing in size and mass. Astronomers around the world struggled to find an explanation.

Now, a UF-led team has used the Gran Telescopio Canarias, or GTC, to point out the solution to the mystery: The data gathered by lesser telescopes was not accurate enough, which led to misinterpretation.

The GTC in Spain’s Canary Islands has a primary mirror of 10.4 meters, or 27.6 feet, which allowed the team led by UF graduate student Jesus Martinez and professor Rafael Guzman, to observe four of these dense galaxies with a level of detail unachieved so far. They found that the four were six times less massive, on average, than previously believed, as described in the September issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

It takes time for light to travel through the universe. Considering the great distances the light must travel to get to Earth, looking through larger telescopes means not only being able to see farther in distance, but also back in time — in this case 9 billion years ago.

Martinez and teammates from Spanish research centers Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias and Universidad Complutense de Madrid, concluded that what had been thought of as super-dense galaxies actually were not so dense and had not undergone dramatic transformation — a discovery that shows how scientists must always question previously accepted principles.

Cutting-edge scientific tools such as the GTC help bolster this kind of healthy scepticism.

UF is a 5 percent partner in the $180 million GTC, which was inaugurated in 2009.

Explore further: World’s largest telescope to make first observations Friday

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8 comments

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BradynStanaway
not rated yet Oct 11, 2011
Bravo! :D
Nanobanano
2.5 / 5 (8) Oct 11, 2011
Nice work.

"Only" off by 400% on mass.

Wonder how much other "official" science is that bad, but presented as "aboslute, irrefutable fact" by the mainstream model mafia?
tadchem
5 / 5 (1) Oct 11, 2011
I love it when preconceived notions collide head-on with empirical data.
kaasinees
1.7 / 5 (12) Oct 11, 2011
expansion is the next hypothesis to be proven wrong. thus the big bang.
mac74
not rated yet Oct 11, 2011
Very interesting, but 4 galaxies is hardly a big enough representative sample to make such a conclusion. Also, 10.4 meters is just over 34 feet, not 27 feet.
gwrede
4.3 / 5 (7) Oct 11, 2011
When I went to school we KNEW that Jupiter has 12 moons.

I've always had a good time reading "[...] used to think that [...], but today we know [...]." Year after year. And never a bit of shame when things change. And always the same conviction.

A somewhat humbler attitude might go a long way.
Argiod
2 / 5 (6) Oct 11, 2011
I suggest that the universe is infinite and eternal; that everything alternates between expansion (when things explode), and contract (when things collide), endlessly. Thus the universe is in a continual state of creation and destruction; wherein only energy exists, and is constantly changing form... keeping life ever new, fascinating, and inexplicable.
jsdarkdestruction
4 / 5 (7) Oct 12, 2011
I suggest that the universe is infinite and eternal; that everything alternates between expansion (when things explode), and contract (when things collide), endlessly. Thus the universe is in a continual state of creation and destruction; wherein only energy exists, and is constantly changing form... keeping life ever new, fascinating, and inexplicable.

you can suggest whatever you want, proving it is a different matter.also, while we are on that note- This does not prove any of oliver k manuels crazy theories, although im sure he will claim it does.

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