National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) 10 Jan 2018, 07:15 UTC Astronomers have looked back to a time soon after the Big Bang, and have discovered swirling gas in some of the earliest galaxies to have formed in the Universe. These ‘newborns’ – observed as they appeared nearly 13 billion years ago – spun like a whirlpool, similar to our own Milky Way.An international team led by Renske Smit from the Kavli Institute of Cosmology at the University of Cambridge used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to open a new window onto the distant Universe, and have identified normal star-forming galaxies at a very early stage in cosmic history. The results are reported in the journal Nature, and will be presented at the 231st meeting of the American Astronomical Society.Light from distant objects takes time to reach Earth, so observing objects that are billions of light years away enables us to look back in time and directly observe the formation of the earliest galaxies. The Universe at that time, however, was filled with an obscuring “haze” of neutral hydrogen gas, which makes it difficult to see the formation of the very first galaxies with optical telescopes.Smit and her colleagues used ALMA to observe two small newborn galaxies, as they existed ...
Sloan Digital Sky Survey 9 Jan 2018, 19:15 UTC Today, astronomers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) announced new measurements of the masses of a large sample of supermassive black holes far beyond the local Universe.The results, being presented at the American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting in National Harbor, Maryland and published in the Astrophysical Journal, represent a major step forward in our ability to measure supermassive black hole masses in large numbers of distant quasars and galaxies.
Sloan Digital Sky Survey 9 Jan 2018, 19:15 UTC Astronomers with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) have learned that the chemical composition of a star can exert unexpected influence on its planetary system — a discovery made possible by an ongoing SDSS survey of stars seen by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, and one that promises to expand our understanding of how extrasolar planets form and evolve.
Sloan Digital Sky Survey 9 Jan 2018, 19:15 UTC Why do galaxies stop making new stars? Today, astronomers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey report a surprising new answer to that important question: feedback from supermassive black holes blocks star formation, even in some of the smallest galaxies.
Keck Observatory 9 Jan 2018, 19:00 UTC An international research team led by Université de Montréal astrophysicist Lauren Weiss has discovered that exoplanets orbiting the same star tend to have similar sizes and a regular orbital spacing. This pattern, revealed by new W. M. Keck Observatory observations of planetary systems discovered by the Kepler Telescope, could suggest that most planetary systems have a different formation history than our solar system.