Duo of titanic galaxies captured in extreme starbursting merger

November 13, 2017, National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Composite image of ADFS-27 galaxy pair. The background image is from ESA's Herschel Space Observatory. The object was then detected by ESO's Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX) telescope (middle image). ALMA (right) was able to identify two galaxies: ADFS-27N (for North) and ADFS-27S (for South). The starbursting galaxies are about 12.8 billion light-years from Earth and destined to merge into a single, massive galaxy. Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF, B. Saxton; ESA Herschel; ESO APEX; ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO); D. Riechers

New observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have uncovered the never-before-seen close encounter between two astoundingly bright and spectacularly massive galaxies in the early universe. These so-called hyper-luminous starburst galaxies are exceedingly rare at this epoch of cosmic history—near the time when galaxies first formed—and may represent one of the most-extreme examples of violent star formation ever observed.

Astronomers captured these two interacting , collectively known as ADFS-27, as they began the gradual process of merging into a single, massive elliptical galaxy. An earlier sideswiping encounter between the two helped to trigger their astounding bursts of star formation. Astronomers speculate that this merger may eventually form the core of an entire galaxy cluster. Galaxy clusters are among the most massive structures in the universe.

"Finding just one hyper-luminous starburst galaxy is remarkable in itself. Finding two of these rare galaxies in such close proximity is truly astounding," said Dominik Riechers, an at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and lead author on a paper appearing in the Astrophysical Journal. "Considering their extreme distance from Earth and the frenetic star-forming activity inside each, it's possible we may be witnessing the most intense galaxy merger known to date."

The ADFS-27 galaxy pair is located approximately 12.7 billion light-years from Earth in the direction of the Dorado constellation. At this distance, astronomers are viewing this system as it appeared when the universe was only about one billion years old.

Artist impression of two starbursting galaxies beginning to merge in the early universe. Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF

Astronomers first detected this system with the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory. It appeared as a single red dot in the telescope's survey of the southern sky. These initial observations suggested that the apparently faint object was in fact both extremely bright and extremely distant. Follow-up observations with the Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX) telescope confirmed these initial interpretations and paved the way for the more detailed ALMA observations.

With its higher resolution and greater sensitivity, ALMA precisely measured the distance to this object and revealed that it was in fact two distinct galaxies. The pairing of otherwise phenomenally rare galaxies suggests that they reside within a particularly dense region of the universe at that period in its history, the astronomers said.

The new ALMA observations also indicate that the ADFS-27 system has approximately 50 times the amount of star-forming gas as the Milky Way. "Much of this gas will be converted into new stars very quickly," said Riechers. "Our current observations indicate that these two galaxies are indeed producing stars at a breakneck pace, about one thousand times faster than our home galaxy."

The galaxies—which would appear as flat, rotating disks—are brimming with extremely bright and massive blue stars. Most of this intense starlight, however, never makes it out of the galaxies themselves; there is simply too much obscuring interstellar dust in each.

Animation zoom-in of the composite image of ADFS-27 galaxy pair. The initial image is from ESA's Herschel Space Observatory. The object was then detected by ESO's Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX) telescope. ALMA (final zoom) was able to identify two galaxies: ADFS-27N (for North) and ADFS-27S (for South). The starbursting galaxies are about 12.8 billion light-years from Earth and destined to merge into a single, massive galaxy. Credit: ESA/Herschel; ESO/APEX; ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO); D. Riechers et al. 2017

This dust absorbs the brilliant starlight, heating up until it glows brightly in infrared light. As this light travels the vast cosmic distances to Earth, the ongoing expansion of the universe shifts the once infrared light into longer millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths, all thanks to the Doppler effect.

ALMA was specially designed to detect and study light of this nature, which enabled the astronomers to resolve the source of the light into two distinct objects. The observations also show the basic structures of the galaxies, revealing tail-like features that were spun-off during their initial encounter.

The new observations also indicate that the two galaxies are about 30,000 light-years apart, moving at roughly several hundred kilometers per second relative to each other. As they continue to interact gravitationally, each galaxy will eventually slow and fall toward the other, likely leading to several more close encounters before merging into one massive, elliptical galaxy. The astronomers expect this process to take a few hundred million years.

"Due to their great distance and dustiness, these galaxies remain completely undetected at visible wavelengths," noted Riechers. "Eventually, we hope to combine the exquisite ALMA data with future infrared observations with NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. These two telescopes will form an astronomer's 'dream team' to better understand the nature of this and other such exceptionally rare, extreme systems."

Explore further: Explosive birth of stars swells galactic cores

More information: Dominik A. Riechers et al. Rise of the Titans: A Dusty, Hyper-luminous "870 μm Riser" Galaxy at z ∼ 6, The Astrophysical Journal (2017). DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/aa8ccf, https://arxiv.org/abs/1705.09660

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Caliban
3 / 5 (4) Nov 13, 2017
When will these charlatans ever learn?

This is neither collision nor merger, as the Big Bamg fantasists would have you believe, but, rather the catastrophic energy release from a recombination of two discrete layers of oppositely-charged intergalactic plasma, which was triggered turbuence introduced by the passage or a GR*/STP**! Federation's UltraDreadnaught Class Battle Ship through the sector.

If one views the "Artist's Conception" of the event, the pulverized wreckage of the ship is plainly visible, especially so in the lower portion of the frame, as the portion of the debris field created by the massive spacecraft's demise is well-illuminated by the visible light discharge of energy consequent upon the recombination of the plasma layers.

cantdrive85
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 13, 2017
It is likely nearby and not nearly as bright as they claim. The object has an intrinsic red-shift, claims of red-shift=distance was falsified decades ago. However, if astrophysicists ignore the right people and particular data thry can continue with their fanciful fearie tales of the Big Bang creation stories.
Caliban
5 / 5 (2) Nov 14, 2017
It is likely nearby and not nearly as bright as they claim. The object has an intrinsic red-shift, claims of red-shift=distance was falsified decades ago. However, if astrophysicists ignore the right people and particular data thry can continue with their fanciful fearie tales of the Big Bang creation stories.


What the Devil does that have to do with the catastrophic energy release of recombining plasma double-layers, canthide? The redshift of this pair is entirely irrelevant, as is the Big Bang, since --there they are.
cantdrive85
2 / 5 (4) Nov 14, 2017
The redshift of this pair is entirely irrelevant, as is the Big Bang, since --there they are.

They are there, but there is a lot closer to here than their fanciful faerie tales would lead them to believe an d likely very "young" as in recently ejected from their parents. And redshift is entirely relevant as that is how they "measure" the claimed distances. And I only comment on the BB because so too did the author of the article by remarking about the age of this being 12.8 billion-years-old and all the ridiculousness associated with those claims. From the abstract;

"We report the detection of ADFS-27, a dusty, starbursting major merger at a redshift of z = 5.655, using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). ADFS-27 was selected from Herschel/Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE) and APEX/LABOCA data as an extremely red "870 �Ľm riser", demonstrating the utility of this technique to identify some of the highest-redshift dusty galaxies."
Tuxford
1 / 5 (2) Nov 14, 2017
Gravitational red-shifting in tired light models could clear up many of the confusing observations held so dear by the merger maniacs. There have been examples where such an explanation fits much better than the fairy tale. Still, the community refuses to extend the alternate explanation to other observations for a fit check.
Caliban
not rated yet Nov 14, 2017
The redshift of this pair is entirely irrelevant, as is the Big Bang, since --there they are.

They are there, but there is a lot closer to here than their fanciful faerie tales would lead them to believe an d likely very "young" as[...] of the article by remarking about the age of this being 12.8 billion-years-old and all the ridiculousness associated with those claims. From the abstract; ...


What a crock. That still has exactly zero to do with the spectacular energy release of recombining plasma double layers.

Besides, a Steady State universe isn't the same as a STATIC one, even if it does sidestep the whole issue of origins, right? Therefore, there has been -absolutely verifiably- about fifty years for this pair of galaxies to travel towards or away from us, unless this just happened yesterday, of course.

All your blather about redshift and Big Bangs just detracts from the main point- every last phenom in the universe is plasma.
Caliban
not rated yet Nov 14, 2017
Gravitational red-shifting in tired light models could clear up many of the confusing observations held so dear by the merger maniacs. There have been examples where such an explanation fits much better than the fairy tale. Still, the community refuses to extend the alternate explanation to other observations for a fit check.


Well, then, tuxford --why don't you get right on that?

I'm sure your browbeaten colleagues would appreciate the help, not to mention having someone so graciously "take the heat", as they say.

I'll bet they would nominate you for a Nobel Prize!
cantdrive85
3 / 5 (2) Nov 14, 2017
just detracts from the main point- every last phenom in the universe is plasma.

Now that's just silly, only 99.9% of the phenomena in the Universe is driven by plasma processes.
Hyperfuzzy
not rated yet Nov 14, 2017
Not z = (Lamda_Observed - Lamda_Emitted)/Lambda_Emitted. The speed of the wavelet under Observation is Lamda_Emitted/Measured_Period = Lambda_Emitted*Measured_Nu_Observed =
C *Lambda_Emitted/Lambda_Observed and the velocity of this wavelet may be +/-, and the magnitude of 0 to infinity . Not limited by the constant c. Therefore, suggest we view the universe with logic, not nonsense!
Hyperfuzzy
not rated yet Nov 14, 2017
Gravitational red-shifting in tired light models could clear up many of the confusing observations held so dear by the merger maniacs. There have been examples where such an explanation fits much better than the fairy tale. Still, the community refuses to extend the alternate explanation to other observations for a fit check.


Well, then, tuxford --why don't you get right on that?

I'm sure your browbeaten colleagues would appreciate the help, not to mention having someone so graciously "take the heat", as they say.

I'll bet they would nominate you for a Nobel Prize!

Nobel's have no basis or logic in Theoretical Physics.
ellbeeyoo
not rated yet Dec 01, 2017
""Our current observations indicate that these two galaxies are indeed producing stars at a breakneck pace,..."

I wish they would all stop this; the galaxies are not "producing" stars, they have "produced stars", as billions of years have passed and the galaxy at this time is almost certainly inactive and populated by mostly dead and dying stars. At 12.7 bly away this galaxy was peaking before the Milky Way was even finished. I know they always phrase in the present tense, because it is the present, for us, but that is not accurate and really doesn't add anything of value to the content. Scientists say they insist on precision, how about showing some more in the writings?
Hyperfuzzy
not rated yet Dec 01, 2017
""Our current observations indicate that these two galaxies are indeed producing stars at a breakneck pace,..."

I wish they would all stop this; the galaxies are not "producing" stars, they have "produced stars", as billions of years have passed and the galaxy at this time is almost certainly inactive and populated by mostly dead and dying stars. At 12.7 bly away this galaxy was peaking before the Milky Way was even finished. I know they always phrase in the present tense, because it is the present, for us, but that is not accurate and really doesn't add anything of value to the content. Scientists say they insist on precision, how about showing some more in the writings?

Not sure any of this makes sense until you define the time arrow of the observed.

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