The rise and fall of Ziggy star formation and the rich dust from ancient stars

The rise and fall of Ziggy star formation and the rich dust from ancient stars
Distribution of dust and oxygen gas traced by ALMA are shown in red and green, respectively, while the distribution of stars captured by HST is shown in blue. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, Tamura et al.

Researchers have detected a radio signal from abundant interstellar dust in MACS0416_Y1, a galaxy 13.2 billion light-years away in the constellation Eridanus. Standard models can't explain this much dust in a galaxy this young, forcing us to rethink the history of star formation. Researchers now think MACS0416_Y1 experienced staggered star formation with two intense starburst periods 300 million and 600 million years after the Big Bang with a quiet phase in between.

Stars are the main players in the universe, but they are supported by the unseen backstage stagehands: and gas. Cosmic clouds of and gas are the sites of star formation and masterful storytellers of the cosmic history.

"Dust and relatively such as oxygen are disseminated by the deaths of ," said Yoichi Tamura, an associate professor at Nagoya University and the lead author of the research paper, "Therefore, a detection of dust at some point in time indicates that a number of stars have already formed and died well before that point."

Using ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array), Tamura and his team observed the distant galaxy MACS0416_Y1. Because of the finite speed of light, the radio waves we observe from this galaxy today had to travel for 13.2 billion years to reach us. In other words they provide an image of what the galaxy looked like 13.2 billion years ago, which is only 600 million years after the Big Bang.

The astronomers detected a weak but telltale signal of radio emissions from dust particles in MACS0416_Y1. The Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope have observed the light from stars in the galaxy; and from its color they estimate the stellar age to be 4 million years.

The rise and fall of Ziggy star formation and the rich dust from ancient stars
Based on the observations with ALMA and HST, researchers assume that this galaxy contains stellar clusters with a mix of old and young stars. The clouds of gas and dust are illuminated by stellar light. Credit: NAOJ
"It ain't easy," said Tamura half-lost in a moonage daydream. "The dust is too abundant to have been formed in 4 million years. It is surprising, but we need to hang onto ourselves. Older stars might be hiding in the galaxy, or they may have died out and disappeared already."

"There have been several ideas proposed to overcome this 'dust budget crisis'," said Ken Mawatari, a researcher at the University of Tokyo. "However, no one is conclusive. We made a new model which doesn't need any extreme assumptions diverging far from our knowledge of the life of stars in today's universe. The model well explains both the color of the galaxy and the amount of dust." In this model, the first burst of star formation started at 300 million years and lasted 100 million years. After that, the star formation activity went quiet for a time, and then restarted at 600 million years. The researchers think ALMA observed this galaxy at the beginning of its second generation of star formation.

"Dust is a crucial material for planets like Earth," explains Tamura. "Our result is an important step forward for understanding the early history of the universe and the origin of dust."

The study is published in the Astrophysical Journal.


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More information: Astrophysical Journal (2019). DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab0374
Journal information: Astrophysical Journal

Provided by National Institutes of Natural Sciences
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Mar 19, 2019
It won't be too long (within 10 years, I'm hoping/guessing) that a galaxy will be found which is older than 14 billion years. Modern astronomy is still in its infancy and the more we look the older the things are which we are finding. The "theory" has leaped well ahead of the observations and what we will discover (with more/better radio and infra-red telescopes) will mean the "theory" - i.e. the bad ideas - will have to change.

Mar 19, 2019
It seems to be getting ever harder to shoehorn observations into the existing Big Bang model ~ galaxies forming too soon, abundant Black Holes that must have existed practically from the beginning and so on.

In the old days we gathered data *and then* modelled it rather than using the old Christian paradigm of making observations fit the pre-existing widely believed model.

Find all the Cosmology and Astrophysics news including links back to Physorg articles here:

https://www.faceb...smoNews/

Mar 20, 2019
Researchers have detected a radio signal from abundant interstellar dust in MACS0416_Y1, a galaxy 13.2 billion light-years away in the constellation Eridanus. Standard models can't explain this much dust in a galaxy this young, forcing us to rethink the history of star formation.

And yet merger maniacs will persist in support of the Huge Bang Fantasy.
"The dust is too abundant to have been formed in 4 million years. It is surprising, but we need to hang onto ourselves.

We made a new model which doesn't need any extreme assumptions diverging far from our knowledge of the life of stars in today's universe.

How about a model where the universe is actually far older, without the single magic moment so dear to the math fairy's heart?? It would be far simpler than the current concoctions!

Long live the Huge Bang Fantasy! Heretics be damned!

Mar 21, 2019
So Tuxford, it was not a 'Big Bang' but on 'Ongoing Orgy' instead eh?

Galaxies constantly ramming each other, SMBH's Jetting new material which coalesces into more gas, dust and condenses further to stars and planets, circling the Great Recycler at the center, at some point to be processed through it once again in rebirth.

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