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STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Powerful Lasers Help Probe Massive Galaxies Of The Early Universe
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (SPX) Jun 11, 2009


A galaxy in the field of the radio galaxy 4C 23.56, at a redshift of 2.483, observed with the Keck II laser-guide-star adaptive-optics system. The upper-left panel shows the observed image. The upper-right panel shows the best-fit Sersic model produced by the model-fitting software Galfit (Peng et al. 2002, Astronomical Journal, 124, 266). The lower-left panel shows the difference between the original image and the model. The model in the upper-right panel includes the broadening of the image by the diffraction effect of the finite aperture of the telescope as well as residual uncorrected atmospheric distortion. The lower-right panel shows the model without such broadening and gives the best impression of the true over-all shape of the galaxy. The shape is most easily interpreted as a disk moderately highly inclined to our line-of-sight, and the detailed analysis of the light profile favors this interpretation. The galaxy light appears to be dominated by stars with an age of around 2 billion years or more, at a time when the Universe itself was only about 2.7 billion years old.

Astronomers have presented high-resolution images of galaxies that were already old when the Universe was only 20 percent of its present age. The report was presented by Dr. Alan Stockton of the Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii at Manoa, in a press conference at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Pasadena, California, and includes work done with Dr. Gabriela Canalizo (University of California, Riverside) and Dr. Elizabeth McGrath (University of California, Santa Cruz)

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Related Links
Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It






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