MUSE reveals a glowing ring of light in the distant universe

MUSE reveals a glowing ring of light in the distant universe
Observations taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope of two magnified galaxies behind massive galaxy clusters: the pink glowing haloes reveal the gas surrounding the distant galaxies and its structure. The gravitational lensing effect from the clusters multiplies the images of the galaxies, producing up to 4 images of the same source. Credit: ESO / NASA / ESA / A.Claeyssens

The MUSE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile has revealed very detailed halos of neutral hydrogen around distant galaxies. A new result zooms on a few such halos, one of them forming a large, almost-complete ring of light. This result will be presented by Adélaïde Claeyssens (Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon—CRAL UMR5574) at the annual meeting of the European Astronomical Society (EWASS2019) in Lyon, on 25 June.

Galaxies are surrounded by copious amounts of neutral hydrogen in a region extending very far away from their center. This region is very important as it is the location of the exchanges of gas between and their environment, and a key element to understand galaxy formation and evolution. In distant galaxies, this region can be revealed through the glow of the gas emission in a halo.

The MUSE instrument, in operation on the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory, is extremely efficient at identifying halos around almost all distant galaxies it observed, but they are generally too small to show any detail or structure. The new study combined the power of MUSE with the so-called gravitational lensing effect of galaxy clusters.

Adélaïde Claeyssensexplains: "Indeed, massive clusters have the property to bend light rays passing through their center, as predicted by Einstein. This produces the effect of a magnifying glass: the images of background galaxies are magnified."

  • MUSE reveals a glowing ring of light in the distant universe
    Observations taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope of two magnified galaxies behind massive galaxy clusters: the pink glowing haloes reveal the gas surrounding the distant galaxies and its structure. The gravitational lensing effect from the clusters multiplies the images of the galaxies, producing up to 4 images of the same source. Credit: ESO / NASA / ESA / A.Claeyssens
  • MUSE reveals a glowing ring of light in the distant universe
    Example map of the spatial properties of hydrogen gas: MUSE observations reveal significant variations of the gas properties across the halo, enabling us to study in details its complex structure and the physical process at play. Credit: ESO /Claeyssens

The study presents the two most spectacular observations of magnified halos obtained to date with MUSE; in one case the halo presents the form of a large, almost-complete ring of light. By zooming on such hydrogen halos surrounding galaxies, it is possible for the first time to study with unprecedented detail how the gas properties vary across the halo. This information is critical for understanding the at play in the halo, that is, how homogeneous it is and how the gas moves around the galaxy.

This discovery demonstrates the potential of MUSE combined with the lensing effects to study many more such halos and to acquire a detailed view about galaxy formation in the universe, when it was only a few billion years old.


Explore further

VLT detects unexpected giant glowing halos around distant quasars

Provided by EWASS
Citation: MUSE reveals a glowing ring of light in the distant universe (2019, June 25) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-muse-reveals-distant-universe.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Jun 25, 2019
Outflows are ubiquitous in astrophysics. Despite different sizes, velocity and amount of transported energy, luminosity and degree of collimation, they have obvious morphological similarities. However, what is important for us, there is the picture of the outflows from everywhere and none of inflows into somewhere. That is an obvious asymmetry. There is no universal mechanism that can explain the origin of all these jets and outflows. There is no consensus about the exact ejection mechanism. The situation is even more severe, for in many cases researchers do not understand what constitutes content of the jets. Is it atomic, molecular or ionic gas, relativistic electrons or protons, or even electron-positron plasma? In this paper we have an opportunity to build a unified model of jets and outflows in the frame of our model. https://www.acade...and_Jets

Jun 25, 2019
there maybe some classically speculated "outflows" observed in the Universe.
temporary phenomena that pushed by an accelerating force.
then, as the delta-v bill comes due?
whatever is that fueled the velocity?
runs out of gas?
{truly Cosmic irony}
chokes off as it's acceleration fades.
with inexorable Gravity seizing the reins

what to a Human, Earth-centric perspective?
appears to be an "outflow" joins all the other similar phenomena as "inflow"

as in being pulled helter-skelter by continuously competing gravitational attractants.

i suspect, the all-to-common confusion is that people are projecting their limited experience to be equivalent to Universal phenomena.

an astro-scientist uses the term "outflowing" rings in Space for several different purposes.

but most people are subconsciously visualizing the smoke-ring billowing from a cigarette in this atmosphere.

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