The Earliest Galaxies Rotated Slowly, Revving up Over Billions of Years

This image features the spiral galaxy NGC 691, imaged in fantastic detail by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). This galaxy is the eponymous member of the NGC 691 galaxy group, a group of gravitationally bound galaxies that lie about 120 million light-years from Earth.  Objects such as NGC 691 are observed by Hubble using a range of filters. Each filter only allows certain wavelengths of light to reach Hubble’s WFC3. The images collected using different filters are then coloured by specialised visual artists who can make informed choices about which colour best corresponds to which filter. By combining the coloured images from individual filters, a full-colour image of the astronomical object can be recreated. In this way, we can get remarkably good insight into the nature and appearance of these objects. Links Video of the Eponymous NGC 691

A team of astronomers have used the ALMA telescope to find a slowly-rotating galaxy in the early universe. That galaxy is the youngest ever found with a measured rotation, and it’s much slower than present-day galaxies.

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Dusty Dark Galaxies in the Early Universe Revealed in Various Wavelengths

Artist's impression of a dust-enshrouded starburst (credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser).
Artist's impression of a dust-enshrouded starburst (credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser).

Well, this is the week for distant galaxies, isn’t it? Not only has JWST revealed some of the most distant ones ever seen in infrared, but other observatories are studying them, too. Astronomers at the Cosmic Dawn Center in Copenhagen recently discovered several interesting ones in the early Universe. However, they had to get through clouds of dust to do it. Their observations revealed several interesting characteristics of objects that existed when the Universe was only a tenth of its current age.

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Plenty of Examples That Giant Galaxies Like the Milky Way Formed Through Mergers

The Universe’s giant galaxies pose a thorny problem for astronomers. The galaxies have grown large somehow, and the only things that can make a galaxy giant are probably other galaxies. So mergers must have played an important role.

Astronomers have known about galaxy mergers for a long time, but the process is still mysterious. A new study based on ten years of work presents observations and direct measurements of the galaxy merger process that remove some of the mystery.

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This Tiny Dot is one of the Biggest, Most Active Galaxy Superclusters Ever Seen. It Was Already a Monster Shortly After the Big Bang

A false-color image of the far-infrared emission from a massive protocluster of galaxies (in the circle) dating from the epoch about 1.4 billion years after the big bang. Astronomers have completed deep optical and infrared observations of the complex and concluded that the star formation processes at work, although exceptionally active, generally seem to follow the same processes seen in our galaxy. Credit: NASA/ESA/Herschel; Miller et al.

A newly discovered supercluster of galaxies is so distant that astronomers say its light has been traveling for over twelve billion years to reach telescopes on Earth. But this cluster, named SPT2349 ?56 is gigantic, and so old that it is actually classified as a proto-cluster of galaxies, meaning it might be one of the earliest large clusters of galaxies in our Universe. It is also one of the most actively star-forming proto-clusters known.

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Andromeda Tore Apart and Consumed a Neighbor Galaxy

Image of the Andromeda Galaxy, showing Messier 32 to the lower left, which is currently merging with Andromeda. Credit: Wikipedia Commons/Torben Hansen

Things may seem quiet and peaceful in the Andromeda Galaxy when you gaze at it in the sky. However, if you know what to look for, there’s evidence of a violent rumble in this galaxy’s past. That’s the takeaway from research by Ivanna Escala, an astronomer at Carnegie Institution for Science in Pasadena. She found telltale clues for a merger a few billion years ago. That’s when Andromeda actively cannibalized another galaxy.

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Hubble Finds a Bunch of Galaxies That Webb Should Check out

Galaxies from the last 10 billion years witnessed in the 3D-DASH program, created using 3D-DASH/F160W and ACS-COSMOS/F814W imaging. Image Credit: Lamiya Mowla

The Universe is full of massive galaxies like ours, but astronomers don’t fully understand how they grew and evolved. They know that the first galaxies formed at least as early as 670 million years after the Big Bang. They know that mergers play a role in the growth of galaxies. Astronomers also know that supermassive black holes are involved in the growth of galaxies, but they don’t know precisely how.

A new Hubble survey of galaxies should help astronomers figure some of this out.

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Hubble Sees Two Spiral Galaxies Together

Two spiral galaxies, collectively known as Arp 303, are seen in this image from the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA, ESA, K. Larson (STScI), and J. Dalcanton (University of Washington); Image Processing: G. Kober (NASA Goddard/Catholic University of America).

Two peculiar spiral galaxies are in the latest image release from the Hubble Space Telescope. The two galaxies, collectively known as Arp 303, are located about 275 million light-years away from Earth. IC 563 is the odd-shaped galaxy on the bottom right while IC 564 is a flocculent spiral at the top left.

Fittingly, these two oddball galaxies are part of the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, which is a catalog of unusual galaxies produced by astronomer Halton Arp in 1966. He put together a total of 338 galaxies for his atlas, which was originally published in 1966 by the California Institute of Technology.

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Gaze Into the Heart of a Grand Spiral Galaxy

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Filippenko (University of California - Berkeley), and D. Sand (University of Arizona); Image Processing: G. Kober (NASA Goddard/Catholic University of America)

Here’s Hubble doing what Hubble does best.

Some of the Hubble Space Telescope’s most famous and stunning images are of distant galaxies, and this one is drop-dead gorgeous too.

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The Building Blocks for Supermassive Black Holes are Found in Dwarf Galaxies

The newly discovered massive black holes reside in dwarf galaxies, where their radiation competes with the light of abundant young stars. (Original image by NASA & ESA/Hubble, artistic conception of black hole with jet by M. Polimera.)

We all know that a humongous black hole exists at the center of our galaxy. It’s called Sagittarius A* (Sgr A* for short) and it has the mass of 4 million suns. We’ve got to see a radio image of it a few weeks back, showing its accretion disk. So, we know it’s there. Astronomers can chart its actions as it gobbles up matter occasionally and they can see how it affects nearby stars. What astronomers are still trying to understand is how Sgr A* formed.

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Is This the Future of the Milky Way?

The central region of the giant elliptical galaxy NGC 474. It's set against a backdrop of more distant galaxies. Will the Milky Way resemble this galaxy in the distant future? This image was taken using the Hubble Advanced Camera for Surveys, and includes data from the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 3. (Courtesy NASA/STScI.)
The central region of the giant elliptical galaxy NGC 474. It’s set against a backdrop of more distant galaxies. Will the Milky Way resemble this galaxy in the distant future? This image was taken using the Hubble Advanced Camera for Surveys, and includes data from the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 3. (Courtesy NASA/STScI.)

Take a good look at the latest image provided by the Hubble Space Telescope. It shows a huge elliptical galaxy called NGC 474 that lies about 100 million light-years away from us. At about two and a half times larger than our Milky Way Galaxy, it’s really a behemoth. Notice its strange structure—mostly featureless and nearly round, but with layered shells wrapped around the central core. Astronomers want to know what caused these shells. The answer might be in what this galaxy represents: a vision of the future Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy.

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