An international team of astronomers has mapped the fuel for galaxy development in the famous Hubble Ultra Deep Field. The results are truly astonishing.
The recent study indicates how galaxies have evolved. It also explains why the period between 10 and 13 billion years ago is considered the golden age for galaxies’ evolution.
The team collaborated with four researchers from Leiden, who played a significant role in the project. They combined the spectroscopy from the MUSE tool on the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory with the ALMA telescope in Chile. Here is what you need to know.
Raw Matter for Stars
The astronomers examined the carbon monoxide emission line in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field and determined the amount of molecular hydrogen, meaning the raw material for star formation. To realize such things, the team needed to find the number of heavy elements in the gas, the radiation field’s strength shining on the carbon monoxide, and the density and temperature. Leindert Boogaard, a Leiden Ph.D. candidate, done the task utilizing the MUSE tool.
He states: “[…] we are able to understand the entire process of galaxy growth and formation.” Such an insight is probably the best thing to happen in the galaxy understanding process.
The galaxies in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field with the most quantity of fuels were mainly normal galaxies, with average star formation and star masses rates.
The Golden Age Explained
The recent study explains that the amount of molecular hydrogen in the Universe happened around 10 billion years ago. That was the so-called golden age of star formation, with a vast amount of raw material so needed to create new stars and galaxies. Half of the stars that exist nowadays, for instance, were formed during that “short” period of cosmic history.
Astronomers said that in the future, the individual galaxies would need to be studied in more detail. The process will be possible using the incredible, high-resolution mode of the ALMA telescopes with observations from the James Webb Space Telescope.
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