"90% of Distant Galaxies in Universe Unseen" --European Space Agency Astronomers
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May 08, 2012

"90% of Distant Galaxies in Universe Unseen" --European Space Agency Astronomers

 

                         Goodss_3pacs


The European Space Agency’s Herschel space telescope has discovered that previously unseen distant galaxies are responsible for a cosmic fog of infrared radiation. The galaxies are some of the faintest and furthest objects seen by Herschel, and open a new window on the birth of stars in the early Universe. Astronomers estimate that their are billions and billions of galaxies in the observable universe (as well as some seven trillion dwarf galaxies) .

Here's how astronomers breakout  the visible universe within 14 billion light years:

Superclusters in the visible universe = 10 million

Galaxy groups in the visible universe = 25 billion

Large galaxies in the visible universe = 350 billion

Dwarf galaxies in the visible universe = 7 trillion

Stars in the visible universe = 30 billion trillion  (3x10²²)

Astronomers realize that they may have underestimated the number of galaxies in some parts of the universe by as much as 90 percent, according to Matthew Hayes of the University of Geneva's Observatory, who led the investigation using the world's most advanced optical instrument -- Europe's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, which has four 8.2-meter (26.65-feet) behemoths. They turned two of the giants towards a well-studied area of deep space called the GOODS-South field.

In the case of very distant, old galaxies, the telltale light may not reach Earth as it is blocked by interstellar clouds of dust and gas -- and, as a result, these galaxies are missed by the map-makers.
"Astronomers always knew they were missing some fraction of the galaxies... but for the first time we now have a measurement. The number of missed galaxies is substantial," said Matthew Hayes of the University of Geneva's observatory, who led the investigation.

The team carried out two sets of observations in the same region, hunting for light emitted by galaxies born 10 billion years ago.The first looked for so-called Lyman-alpha light, the classic telltale used to compile cosmic maps, named after its U.S. discoverer, Theodore Lyman. Lyman-alpha is energy released by excited hydrogen atoms. The second observation used a special camera called HAWK-1 to look for a signature emitted at a different wavelength, also by glowing hydrogen, which is known as the hydrogen-alpha (or H-alpha) line.

The second sweep yielded a whole bagful of light sources that had not been spotted using the Lyman-alpha technique. They include some of the faintest galaxies ever found, forged at a time when the universe was just an infant.

The astronomers conclude that Lyman-alpha surveys may only spot just a tiny number of the total light emitted from far galaxies. Astonishingly, as many as 90 percent of such distant galaxies may go unseen in these exercises.

"If there are 10 galaxies seen, there could be a hundred there," said Hayes. The discovery adds powerfully to knowledge about the timeline by which stars and then galaxies formed.

The image at the top of the page shows the discovery of a previously unresolved population of galaxies in the GOODS fields and the first measurements of properties of galaxies in the almost unexplored far-infrared domain are among the first exciting scientific results achieved by Herschel's PACS and SPIRE instruments. These findings confirm the extraordinary capabilities of ESA's new infrared space observatory to investigate the formation and evolution of galaxies.

The Daily Galaxy via ESA 

Image credit: GOODS-South field, ESA/PACS Consortium/PEP Key Programme Consortium

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Comments

Makes sense given those 90% of galaxies are so far away that NONE of their light reaches us. They've all but 'faded away' because of the vast distance; light's speed is relatively slow, so slow that no light has reached us.

So does this account for all the matter we thought was dark matter and energy?

The mystery of dark matter appears to get tied to this revelation that most of the distant galaxies are too faint to be seen from Earth o/c blockage from the infra red fog present there. If the Big Bang provided the start of the universe, how was the initial electromagnetic distribution got generated. It seems there was dominance of Far IR and IR over the UV/Far UV. Microwave anisotropic background gets associated with the shock of creation. Attempts need to be made to simulate such closer moments after creation using the LHC like accelerators at Geneva and Fermi Lab. near Chicago.

Really?..... isn't it amazing that the farther we are able to see..... the more stuff we can see?

um... Duh?

Mind-bending numbers... which will prove to be conservative estimates as telescopy rapidly advances. The question for me... is it possible to figure out if very distant galaxies still exist essentially in the same form or whether all that remains of them are their signatures accross vast reaches of space-time.

Very interesting references by Alan and Narendra on Dark Matter as questions about distant if exigent objects and gravitational confluences are posed. So am I an idiot to ponder therefore, the 'speed of gravity' in asking about what is still out there and how it might currently interract with matter and energy in more localized regions of space-time?

On the fourth line down it should be "there", not "their".

I'm using the possessive 'their'. Maybe you are suggesting that It should be a question, Chris, but I'm not sure.

Actually Ted, the curious thing is that the further [farther back in time] we're seeing the more we're revealing and radically so. That seems counter-intuitive don't you think in the context of a 'big-bang' beginning to the universe. Shouldn't we be seeing less or expecting to see less. It's pretty surprising in fact. Aren't we in reality, witnessing some perceived contradictions to widely accepted theories about how the universe came to exist.

Approaching zero hour.

no it should be , 99.9999999 % unseen ,

The light does tire after all...

Seems more unlikely every day that we're the only life out there... Almost mathematically 0% probability.

Obviously dark energy maps are worthless trash, and the age of the big-bang universe is wrong. There are so far too many old galaxies that they say formed right after the big-big to be truthful.

It only makes sense that our view of the distant past is somehow obscured by the events that took place. I personally think that scientists for all their good intentions are likely to find that the more they think they know or understand about our universe, the more questions will arise that cannot be easily explained or understood. Like a puzzle that keeps changing its shape the closer you get to solving it.

I find Holo's thoughts interesting but human beings are incredibly smart. Here we are, barely at the beginning of our technological evolution and now capable of witnessing events and objects at 13 to 14 billion light-years distance, much less measuring to an extraordinary degree of accuracy, the speed of light itself. The Big-Bang is a theory about the beginning of space-time... an amazing achievement in itself even if it isn't right in every absolute degree. It's a work in progress which may somehow align the concept of a universe expanding at greater than the speed of light [unproven] with quantum physics: journeys into the heart of matter and beyond the rim of existence all at the same time. How can we, in our infancy as a technological civilization, hope to have had the last word on any of this? I think we are making a pretty decent fist of all this for a bunch of beginners in the evolutionary sense.

The only unanswered question is; which BIG BANG, are we in? How
many came before this one? And is dark matter expanding the universe
we live or creating new multiverses? Like universe grapes on some cosmic vine,
first one, then another as they form new multiverses, but from one origin.

Since earth is part of one galexy, the scientists believe the universe has billion of same, so my theory is life exist for sure in the universe. I can't believe people still question is there life outside of our galexy. Do you think for a moment the universe was created just for ONE PLANET WE CALL EARTH. I am convinced that life exists like ours by billions.

Cmon NASA... you can find life!!!

The universe had no beginning, no big bang,and the expansion will progress forever with no end ,it always existed like God.

On Jan.7th.2013 Monday HARVARD-SMITH CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS THE ARTICLE WAS BY ALICIA CHANCE THE ASSCIATE PRESS, THE ARTICLE IN QUESTION PROVES THAT I WAS RIGHT ON, LOOK AT MY POSTING NOV.25TH.2012 AT 11.25

NBC 8.8 billion planet on nov. 4th 2013 I said exactly the same in Nov.25 in my comment on this site.


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