ALMA reveals constituent of a galaxy at 12.4 billion light-years away

June 22, 2012
Image: ALMA

An international research team, led by Associate Professor Tohru Nagao from Kyoto University, and including researchers from Japan and Europe, has observed a "submillimeter galaxy" located about 12.4 billion light-years away using ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array), and has successfully detected an emission line from nitrogen contained in that galaxy.

Comparisons between the data obtained by ALMA and numerical models revealed that the elemental composition of this galaxy in the early universe, at only 1.3 billion years after the Big Bang, was already close to the of the present universe.

This result suggests that intense star formation activities had occurred in the early universe. A submillimeter galaxy is a type of galaxy which has intense star formation activity and is covered by large amounts of dust which block visible light. This situation hampers detailed observation of the galaxy with optical telescopes, such as the . ALMA observes celestial objects at millimeter wavelength, which penetrates though dust clouds. In addition, ALMA also has extraordinary sensitivity, which is capable of catching even extremely faint radio signals.

This is the result with one of the most distant galaxies ALMA has ever observed.

Explore further: Astronomers detect vast amounts of gas and dust around black hole in early universe

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4 comments

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theon
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 22, 2012
Also this observation supports the top-down theory of structure formation.
Husky
not rated yet Jun 22, 2012
Hopefully they get to see fingerprints of much theorised population III stars
kevinrtrs
1.2 / 5 (9) Jun 23, 2012
This result suggests that intense star formation activities had occurred in the early universe

There is the obvious alternative explanation which fits far better than an unobserved accelerated star formation phenomenom:

The observed galaxy was born at the same time as the rest of the known universe.

How else would the elemental composition be the same, unless a very substantial supportive observation can confirm that stars can have an accelerated rate of formation?
What is there that would create such a difference between that galaxy and the Milky Way for instance? If anything, given the nebular theory of star formation, one would expect a far lower rate of star formation so early in the universe. Of course that relies on whether the nebular theory is an accurate explanation of how stars form in the first place.
Tuxford
1 / 5 (5) Jun 26, 2012
Just another knock against the Big Bang Fantasy? Should not the evidence lead to the question of whether the stellar evolution model is indeed wrong? Should not the preponderance of new evidence support the Fantasy, rather than challenge it? I just don't understand the stubborn reluctance to reconsider past conclusions.

http://phys.org/n...rse.html

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