Ancient stardust sheds light on the first stars

March 8, 2017
Credit: University College London

A huge mass of glowing stardust in a galaxy seen shortly after the Universe's formation has been detected by a UCL-led team of astronomers, providing new insights into the birth and explosive deaths of the very first stars.

The galaxy is the most distant object ever observed by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and was seen when the Universe was only four percent of its present age, at about 600 million years old, when the first stars and galaxies were forming. It is also the most distant galaxy in which dust and oxygen has been detected.

The study, funded by the European Research Council and published today in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, observed A2744_YD4, the youngest and most remote galaxy ever seen using ALMA.

The team, led by Dr Nicolas Laporte (UCL Physics & Astronomy), was surprised to find that this youthful galaxy, whose enormous distance was confirmed with the X-Shooter instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope, contained an abundance of formed by the deaths of an earlier generation of stars.

Study lead, Dr Nicolas Laporte, said: "Not only is A2744_YD4 the most distant galaxy yet observed by ALMA, but the detection of so much dust indicates early supernovae must have already polluted this galaxy."

Cosmic dust is mainly composed of silicon, carbon and aluminium, in grains as small as a millionth of a centimetre across. The chemical elements in these grains are forged inside stars and are scattered across the cosmos when the stars die, most spectacularly in supernova explosions, the final fate of short-lived, massive stars.

Today, this dust is plentiful and is a key building block in the formation of stars, planets and complex molecules; but in the early Universe, before the first generations of stars died out, it was scarce.

The observations of the dusty galaxy A2744_YD4 were made possible because this galaxy lies behind a massive galaxy cluster called Abell 2744. A phenomenon called gravitational lensing causes the cluster to act like a giant cosmic 'telescope', magnifying the more distant A2744_YD4 by about 1.8 times, allowing the team to peer far back into the early Universe.

The ALMA observations also detected the glowing emission of ionised oxygen from A2744_YD4. This is the most distant, and hence earliest, detection of oxygen in the Universe.

"The Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes provided us with important information about the distance of A2744_YD4, but it's only thanks to powerful instruments like X-Shooter and ALMA that we can confirm the nature of this distant dusty galaxy," added Guido Roberts-Borsani (UCL Physics & Astronomy), PhD student and a co-author of the study.

Credit: University College London

The detection of dust in the early Universe provides new information on when the first supernovae exploded and hence the time when the first hot stars bathed the Universe in light. Determining the timing of this 'cosmic dawn' is one of the holy grails of modern astronomy, and it can be indirectly probed through the study of early interstellar dust.

The team estimates that A2744_YD4 contained an amount of dust equivalent to 6 million times the mass of our Sun, while the galaxy's total stellar mass—the mass of all its stars—was two billion times the mass of our Sun. The team also measured the rate of star formation in A2744_YD4 and found that stars are forming at a rate of 20 solar masses per year—compared to just one solar mass per year in the Milky Way.

"This rate is not unusual for such a , but it does shed light on how quickly the dust in A2744_YD4 formed," explained Professor Richard Ellis (ESO and UCL Physics & Astronomy), a co-author of the study. "Remarkably, the required time is only about 200 million years, so we are witnessing this galaxy shortly after its formation."

This means that significant star formation began approximately 200 million years before the epoch at which the galaxy is being observed. This provides a great opportunity for ALMA to help study the era when the first stars and galaxies 'switched on'—the earliest epoch yet probed. Our Sun, our planet and our existence are the products—13 billion years later—of this first generation of . By studying their formation, lives and deaths, we are exploring our origins.

"With ALMA, the prospects for performing deeper and more extensive observations of similar at these early times are very promising," said Professor Ellis.

Dr Laporte concluded: "Further measurements of this kind offer the exciting prospect of tracing early and the creation of the heavier chemical elements even further back into the early Universe."

Explore further: A massive galaxy long ago and far away

More information: Dust In The Reionization Era: Alma Observations of A Z =8.38 Gravitationally Lensed Galaxy. www.eso.org/public/archives/re … eso1708/eso1708a.pdf

Related Stories

A massive galaxy long ago and far away

February 6, 2017

Galaxies today fall roughly into two categories: elliptically-shaped collections of reddish, old stars that formed predominantly during a period early in the history of the universe, and spiral shaped objects dominated by ...

An old-looking galaxy in a young universe

March 2, 2015

A team of astronomers, led by Darach Watson, from the University of Copenhagen used the Very Large Telescope's X-shooter instrument along with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to observe one of the ...

Astronomers uncover hidden stellar birthplace

July 26, 2016

A team of astronomers from the University of Manchester, the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and the University of Bonn have uncovered a hidden stellar birthplace in a nearby spiral galaxy, using a telescope in Chile. ...

ALMA discovers dew drops surrounding dusty spider's web

July 1, 2016

Astronomers have spotted glowing droplets of condensed water in the distant Spiderweb Galaxy – but not where they expected to find them. Detections with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) show that ...

Recommended for you

Dawn mission extended at Ceres

October 20, 2017

NASA has authorized a second extension of the Dawn mission at Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. During this extension, the spacecraft will descend to lower altitudes than ever before ...

33 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

RNP
5 / 5 (7) Mar 08, 2017
An open access copy of the paper can be found here : https://arxiv.org...2039.pdf
cantdrive85
1.3 / 5 (13) Mar 08, 2017
Thanks RNP, I was in need of updating my faerie tale reading collection. This paper on the fanciful "reionization" epoch should be amusing.
691Boat
4.6 / 5 (10) Mar 08, 2017
Thanks RNP, I was in need of updating my faerie tale reading collection. This paper on the fanciful "reionization" epoch should be amusing.

I'm looking forward to your analysis, which of course will be supported by actual science, right?
cantdrive85
1.4 / 5 (9) Mar 09, 2017
I'm looking forward to your analysis, which of course will be supported by actual science, right?

Yep, actual science. Plasma Cosmology is well supported by experimental, observational, theoretical evidence which is all well founded in science. That is unlike the fanciful pontifications of the plasma ignoramuses with all their nonsensical black holes, big bangs, dark this and that, and other such pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo.
691Boat
5 / 5 (9) Mar 09, 2017
I'm looking forward to your analysis, which of course will be supported by actual science, right?

Yep, actual science. Plasma Cosmology is well supported by experimental, observational, theoretical evidence which is all well founded in science. That is unlike the fanciful pontifications of the plasma ignoramuses with all their nonsensical black holes, big bangs, dark this and that, and other such pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo.


OK, still waiting for that analysis which is supported by real science.
Captain Stumpy
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 09, 2017
Yep, actual science. Plasma Cosmology is well supported by experimental, observational, theoretical evidence which is all well founded in science
@nazi sympathizing pseudoscience eu cult preacher
if this is the case, why is there no journal or astrophysics reference to your theory

better yet, if it is supported by " experimental, observational, theoretical evidence", then it should be validated, so.... where is the validation?

it's not rocket surgery
if you claim it is " experimental, observational, theoretical evidence" supported, then you should be able to produce validated studies that spell it all out, which in turn will be linked to and directly supporting of, eu cult propaganda

so far, there is nothing, as 691Boat points out...

so either you're lying or MS science is lying

and considering MS science is posting studies, links, references and validation and you're not ...
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (8) Mar 09, 2017
So you want my scientific analysis but you are willing to accept the above pseudoscience clap trap without question. Mmmkay...
691Boat
5 / 5 (9) Mar 10, 2017
So you want my scientific analysis but you are willing to accept the above pseudoscience clap trap without question. Mmmkay...

Well, the plasma I generate everyday has always been in agreement with current mainstream science, so yes; I do accept modern physics as being accurate. When I create plasma, it acts as a shield and a hindrance between my light source and the sample. It doesn't amplify anything, it doesn't do any machining, it doesn't cause charge to build up, it acts like real plasma.
So what did you find when you read the paper RNP linked? Anything you want to dispute with validated science and evidence?
691Boat
5 / 5 (11) Mar 10, 2017
I think the big issue with the EU folks can be easily related to patents. I don't know if you have ever submitted patents or been a part of that process, but what real science does is like an actual patent application. You either generate a thought experiment backed up and checked with good math and theory, or generate a process/thing that is a real thing and can be tested to be accurate. You then submit the set of claims about the thing being patented, plus ALL SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION AND EVIDENCE. What the EU folks do is essentially submit a patent application with only claims, no actual supporting documentation. This patent application then has to go through multiple stages of review and litigation before even being accepted and published, plus even more review/scrutiny/litigation to be issued as an actual patent. If I submitted a patent with only claims, it wouldn't get past the front desk at the patent office because it means absolutely nothing.
Just my two cents.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (6) Mar 10, 2017
Well, the plasma I generate everyday has always been in agreement with current mainstream science, so yes; I do accept modern physics as being accurate.

The "mainstream" science regarding modern plasma physics is largely due to Alfvén as he can be considered the "Father" of plasma physics. Astrophysicists do not use the physics to describe astrophysical plasmas the rest of science uses, nope, they imagine they are dealing with ideal gases, frozen-in fields, perfect conducting gases, magnetic reconnection, and other such fanciful imaginings. Alfvén described the two lines of plasma research in his Nobel speech some 40 years ago, little if anything has changed since then.
691Boat
5 / 5 (7) Mar 10, 2017
I guess those MMS probes are seeing pretend events then, eh?
https://www.nasa....1st-time
The fact that magnetic reconnection has been observed and measured really makes you look silly.
What difference does it make who the "father" of plasma physics is? If his theories can't be proven, it doesn't do much good.
Captain Stumpy
4.4 / 5 (7) Mar 10, 2017
@idiot nazi sympathizer pseudoscience cult member
Astrophysicists do not use the physics to describe astrophysical plasmas the rest of science uses
and this has been proven false numerous times on PO alone, so repeating the lie doesn't make it more true

hell, i can disprove it with a single quote with link:
A Collaborative National Center for Fusion & Plasma Research
http://www.pppl.gov/

yup, that's right: engineers and astrophysicists working side by side proving you wrong
So you want my scientific analysis but you are willing to accept the above pseudoscience clap trap without question
1- what science have you ever given? most of the time you put valid links it has been proven that you're misrepresenting the data in it

2- i accept no singular study. it is far, far better than your pseudoscience links, but it still is just a point of interest as far as i am concerned

validation is where the truth is

but you eu's can't even get a singular study
Captain Stumpy
4.4 / 5 (7) Mar 10, 2017
Worst BS ever on PO
Alfvén described the two lines of plasma research in his Nobel speech some 40 years ago, little if anything has changed since then
another blatantly false claim and oft repeated lie

i've proven to you more than a few times that this particular gem of stupidity is blatantly false

you argue that because actual labs replicate magnetic reconnection it must be true all the while refusing to accept that it was the engineers who you claim are producing the real science who have repeatedly validated that one (more than 100K times)

and that doesn't even take into consideration the NASA link above proving you wrong

so if anyone is ignoring science and promoting pseudoscience it is cantdrive and the other eu cult members here on PO

if you could actually prove your eu bullsh*t using the scientific method like everyone else you would be more famous than your demigod Alfven... of course, if he were alive today he would call you all idiots, too
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (6) Mar 10, 2017
You along with most everyone else here can't seem to grasp the argument. Nobody is arguing whether or not an explosive event takes place. That they call it magnetic reconnection is also not in doubt, regardless of how misleading it is. The question is the mechanism they use to describe the event, from wiki;
"Magnetic reconnection is a physical process in highly conducting plasmas in which the magnetic topology is rearranged and magnetic energy is converted to kinetic energy, thermal energy, and particle acceleration. Magnetic reconnection occurs on timescales intermediate between slow resistive diffusion of the magnetic field and fast Alfvénic timescales.
The qualitative description of the reconnection process is such that magnetic field lines from different magnetic domains (defined by the field line connectivity) are spliced to one another, changing their patterns of connectivity with respect to the sources."
This explanation requires monopoles, as such, pseudoscience.
RNP
5 / 5 (8) Mar 11, 2017
@cantdrive85
This explanation requires monopoles, as such, pseudoscience.


This is a completely false claim.

Have you not understood a word of what the others above have been saying to you? If you want to be taken seriously, or at least be considered something other than a deluded fanatic, you must support your claims with evidence. In this case, as the claim is a pure invention of your own, I know that this will not be possible. But, if you want to stop looking so utterly foolish, in future try and confine your posts to something related to reality and provide supporting evidence.
Captain Stumpy
4.4 / 5 (7) Mar 11, 2017
@idiot nazi sympathizing eu pseudoscience cult conspiracist
That they call it magnetic reconnection is also not in doubt, regardless of how misleading it is. The question is the mechanism they use to describe the event, from wiki
1- don't ASSume that because something is simplified to make it easier to understand that this is the only explanation for it

2- you are the one saying that MR is pseudoscience (literally) all over PO, to which there is plenty of physical validated evidence that you're completely wrong

3- you are also the one who makes claims that astrophysicists don't know plasma physics, and intimate that in your latest "misleading" bullsh*t argument - the physics that Astro's use comes straight from labs like PPPL where engineers are validating the models used, which makes you the idiot "true believer" following pseudoscience

you don't require validation using the scientific method - you simply follow your eu cult crowd
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (3) Mar 12, 2017
This is a completely false claim.

Maybe you would like to explain how a "field line" can break and be "spliced" to another "field line" without a monopole being involved. Unless of course you rely on an instantaneous phenomena.
Captain Stumpy
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 12, 2017
@idiot nazi sympathizing eu pseudoscience cult conspiracist
Maybe you would like to explain how a "field line" can break and be "spliced" to another "field line" without a monopole being involved. Unless of course you rely on an instantaneous phenomena.
1- learn to read: http://readingbear.org/

2- now go here: http://www.pppl.g...nnection

when you get stuck with the terminology, there are two choices you can make:
A = stick to the proven, validated science and experiments - http://www.pppl.g...nnection

B = learn the basics so you're not continually proven to be an idiot every time you post - https://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm

if that is too much, then i suggest anhero or some similar tactic
RealityCheck
2.6 / 5 (5) Mar 12, 2017
Hi cantdrive and Stumpy. :)

That is an interesting point for discussion. How can a magnetic field region be modified/discontinued in reality physics terms; and what is the transient feature in that transient discontinuity region; and what is the plasma itself (which both generates and also reacts to mag-field configurations/reconfigurations) actually doing during that transient discontinuity condition in the mag field region in question?

@ cantdrive: What makes you think a 'magnetic monopole' is 'required' in such a discontinuity situation? If the ENERGY-SPACE view is taken, then all 'fields' are merely energy-content/dynamics in the spatial extent under consideration. And the observations show that all such energy-space features/dynamics involve WAVES and SOLITONIC self-organizing features (be they transient; or be they persistent, like photons, electrons/positrons, protons etc).

@ Stumpy: Actually engage/rebut in science terms instead of just posting personal insults. :)
Captain Stumpy
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 13, 2017
@idiot pseudoscience preacher form the earthling cult
Actually engage/rebut in science terms
LMFAO
where should the line be drawn with idiots?

i mean... you've wasted more than 6 million characters and you still have never posted evidence of your 4 fatal flaws

and the idiot cd ignored more than 100K experiments from his god-like reverence of electrical engineers proving him wrong

at what point should we continue with science when it's painfully obvious that you're so f*cking stupid that you can't comprehend what is going on?

>6 million characters completely wasted!
>100K experiments completely ignored!

what are the odds that, considering those numbers, either of you would comprehend anything more technical ????

ROTFLMFAO

what a farcical hypocritical narcissistic religious fanatic!
RealityCheck
2.6 / 5 (5) Mar 13, 2017
Hi Stumpy! :)

Aww, don't be like that, mate. You saw how I challenged cd's comments politely, and using science instead of personal insults, didn't you? That is how science discussion should be, impartial, polite and on science not personal feuds. Why don't you try it? That's the only way to make your point without stooping to the same level as your detractors. But of course, you will need to tone down your irrelevant personal 'noise' if you want to make a constructive instead of destructive contribution to the science and humanity discourse; else you only clutter up the threads, and so 'bury' the interesting science discussion points. Please, mate, forget all the past nonsense from all 'sides', and start afresh with goodwill and patient politeness and objectivity....for the sake of science and humanity itself. Return to on-science polite posting and be an example to your detractors of what it should be like. Good luck and good thinking, Stumpy. No hard feelings hey? :)
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 13, 2017
@idiot earthling club pseudoscience preacher
Why don't you try it?
ok, lets take a crack!

that will mean, however, that we start by first verifying that your history in order to establish your credibility - which is important

it is why peer review is important in real science. if you can't be credible and pass peer review then you're just another crank making unsubstantiated claims

so - you said
Even on a first read through the pdf, at least 4 fatal flaws jump out
considering this is free access and not your own copyright/paper, please point out those 4 fatal flaws in that paper that "jumped out" at you so that we can validate your claims

thanks!
:)

please note: if you do, we'll address that as we read it
if you don't then you're no more credible than cd and the eu cult

so that means i will simply report any additional post past this 6,270 post mark without evidence to insure you get banhammered, just like real science ruins the careers of liars
:)
Captain Stumpy
4.4 / 5 (7) Mar 13, 2017
PS @@idiot earthling club pseudoscience cult crank

i forgot to add:
make sure you label which is the Systemic flaw and procedural flaw per your own statements here on PO

clarity is important, so that means producing the publications that validate your claims, not only for the assumptive flaws, but the systemic and procedural flaw as well

Good luck and good thinking, you pseudoscience crackpot. No hard feelings hey? :)
RealityCheck
2.6 / 5 (5) Mar 13, 2017
Hi Stumpy. :)

Been there; done that. Long past. Move on. :)

Mate, your combative/insulting attitude only brings poison to the site. Take heed of what happened to another like troll (paddoboy, at Sciforums). He used to parrot/link and clutter up with 'noise' otherwise good science discussions. Moreover he used to bring his poisonous personal tactics of flaming, baiting, sabotaging intrusions ruining perfectly good science discussions because he was ignorant of the science but wanted to pretend he had relevance despite his ignorance....so he became a malicious actor causing good people with interesting scientific ideas/discussion to get banned by complicit mods/admin who at the time didn't realize they were being 'used' by paddo to frame people for banning because they dared disagreed with him or took him to task for his poisonous trolling/sabotaging antics.

He is gone from Sciforums now; mods/admin and serious members finally had a gut-full. Don't be like him. Be nice. :)
Captain Stumpy
4.5 / 5 (8) Mar 14, 2017
@idiot earthling club pseudoscience cult crank f*ckwad
Been there; done that. Long past
if that were true you would have linked that thread where you post all 4 flaws long past

and that has never happened
not once

In fact, i've personally been through all 6,271 of your posts here on PO making you the biggest and most prolific liar on the site

because you can't actually provide the background per your own request and my adherence to your own request, that very specifically proves that you're a liar and have the credibility of the eu cult crowd

IOW - you have none

i nicely asked, you simply lied

therefore - per above - i will continue to report all your posts till you provide the evidence

since i know you want to have the last word, feel free to backpedal and add excuses as you regularly do, like above

reported
gkam
1 / 5 (5) Mar 14, 2017
"@idiot earthling club pseudoscience preacher

@idiot nazi sympathizer pseudoscience cult member

@idiot earthling club pseudoscience cult crank f*ckwad

PS @@idiot earthling club pseudoscience cult crank", . . and so on.

Why does the moderator allow this adolescent and abusive behavior from people who hide their names?

Can't we discuss these ideas without being subjected to abuse from snipers?
Captain Stumpy
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 14, 2017
Are they all out looking for "legitimate rapes"?
http://phys.org/n...ent.html

Do chimps grab others by the pu$$y?
http://phys.org/news/2016-12-chimpanzees-indifferent-altruism.html

your mother wears men's underwear!
https://phys.org/news/2017-01-documents-tree-species-decline-due.html

The Air Force does not issue badges for marksmanship
https://phys.org/...uns.html

The Pope speaks Portuguese.
http://phys.org/n...und.html

Why does the moderator allow this adolescent and abusive non-science behavior from people who hide their names?

Can't we discuss these ideas without being subjected to OT & abuse from snipers?
RealityCheck
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 14, 2017
Hi Stumpy.

So, "be nice" is 'interpreted' by you as 'keep being juvenile/insulting'?

Stumpy, you have lost all credibility/respect (like that nasty-creepy insulting juvenile "paddoboy" troll did at Sciforums once admin/mods and serious members finally saw him as he really was: a dumb insults merchant/science discourse saboteur).

They finally had a gut-full, and told him so; he left in a poisonous parting huff of insults and insensible rage (because that's all he ever knew/brought to that site/science discussions).

As for Bicep2 flaws I cautioned about, I provided further info in subsequent discussions/threads; but YOU 'missed'/ignored them!

You even BOASTED your "Objective Investigative Method' consisted of you just closing your eyes and continuing your 'noise' as if nothing happened! That 'method' was succinctly demonstrated by your replies:
TL ; DR (ie, Too Long ; Didn't Read) plus FOAD etc insults.
I wasted enough time on your bad faith 'demands', Stumpy. Bye.
gkam
1 / 5 (4) Mar 14, 2017
RC, do not leave, just put the snipers on ignore.

If you leave, the vandals win.
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 14, 2017
hi @@idiot earthling club pseudoscience cult crank f*ckwad :)
So, "be nice" is 'interpreted' by you as 'keep being juvenile/insulting'?
so "strict adherence to the scientific method" means a "maths free ToE", "failure to validate claims with facts or evidence", regurgitation of nonsensical hypersensitive "martyr-victim complex Duning-Kruger" and *"blatantly lying about facts that can be proven"*???

:)

i mean, you say you have addressed the BICEP issue, but i have searched this forum (and several others you were banned from) and there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever of any 4 fatal flaws, let alone all 8 you claimed to have seen

then you claim to be objective but you can't actually provide objective evidence to validate your claims?

that is called pseudoscience
period
full stop

i know i said you would get the last word in, and i intend to let you now...but don't ASSume that everyone is as f*cking stupid as you are

reported - and FOAD
:)
RealityCheck
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 14, 2017
Hi gkam. :)

No fear, mate; I was bidding bye to the Stump's 'noises', not this forum. Cheers. :)
Uncle Ira
4 / 5 (4) Mar 14, 2017
RC, do not leave, just put the snipers on ignore.

If you leave, the vandals win.


I do not care who you are, that is funny. Cher, you must not know Really-Skippy very good, eh?
RealityCheck
2 / 5 (4) Mar 14, 2017
Hi Stumpy! :)

*Sigh*.....still with your 'noise'?

Anyhow, Stumpy, you are one of those who owe bschott (and Forum) a sincere apology for your outrageous unreasoning opposition/insults when bschott suggested/argued for using clocking 'blips' etc for gravitational wave detection. Recent mainstream suggestions similar/identical to bschott's original suggestion/approach clearly agree his suggestion was always scientifically/technically sound/feasible.....making unreasoning attacks (on him and his suggestion) from you et al just so much troll shite having no regard at all to the science/tech merit in bschott's original suggestion.

So, Stumpy, can you at least show some decency, honesty and scientific ethics towards bschott (and Forum)....and apologize sincerely for your trolls and personal attacks on him in that instance?

Let's see what you can do when your conscience/objectivity/humility (finally) 'kick in', mate! Good luck. :)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.