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Hubble Surprise: Shows Early-Universe Red Galaxies as Oddly Old



Astronomers have used Hubble to look 11 billion years back in time to when the Universe was very young, exploring the anatomy of distant galaxies, creating the Hubble Sequence, which classifies galaxies according to their morphology and star-forming activity, organizing them into a cosmic zoo of spiral, elliptical, and irregular shapes with whirling arms, fuzzy haloes and bright central bulges. Two main types of galaxy are identified were elliptical and spiral, with a third type, lenticular, settling somewhere between the two. Previous studies have looked at the proportions of the different galaxy types back in time (heic1002). The mix of spiral, elliptical, lenticular and peculiar galaxies is different from today, with a great many more peculiars in the distant Universe than we see nearby.

This accurately describes what we see in the region of space around us, but how does galaxy morphology change as we look further back in time, to when the Universe was very young?

"This is a key question: when and over what timescale did the Hubble Sequence form?" says BoMee Lee of the University of Massachusetts, USA, lead author of a new paper exploring the sequence. "To do this you need to peer at distant galaxies and compare them to their closer relatives, to see if they too can be described in the same way."

While it was known that the Hubble Sequence holds true as far back as around 8 billion years ago, these new observations push a further 2.5 billion years back in cosmic time, covering a huge 80% of the past history of the Universe. Previous studies had also reached into this epoch of the cosmos to study lower-mass galaxies, but none had conclusively also looked at large, mature galaxies like the Milky Way. The new CANDELS observations confirm that all galaxies this far back -- big and small alike -- fit into the different classifications of the sequence.

"This is the only comprehensive study to date of the visual appearance of the large, massive galaxies that existed so far back in time," says co-author Arjen van der Wel of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany. "The galaxies look remarkably mature, which is not predicted by galaxy formation models to be the case that early on in the history of the Universe."

The galaxies at these earlier times appear to be split between blue star-forming galaxies with a complex structure -- including discs, bulges, and messy clumps -- and massive red galaxies that are no longer forming stars, as seen in the nearby Universe.

Galaxies as massive as the Milky Way or more are rather rare in the young Universe. This scarcity has prevented previous studies from being able to gather a large enough sample of mature galaxies to properly describe their characteristics.

What was needed was a systematic set of observations such as those from Hubble's CANDELS survey, which was large enough to allow the astronomers to analyse a larger number of these galaxies consistently, and in detail. CANDELS, the Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey, is the largest project in the history of Hubble, with 902 assigned orbits of observing time. It is being carried out with two cameras on board Hubble -- WFC3 and ACS -- and aims to explore galactic evolution in the early Universe, and the very first seeds of cosmic structure at less than one billion years after the Big Bang.

With Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), the astronomers were able to observe in the infrared part of the spectrum to see how the galaxies appeared in their visible rest-frame, which is easier to compare with galaxies in our neighborhood. Previous studies of this period of cosmic history were inconclusive as they were limited to visible light, showing only the redshifted ultraviolet emission of the galaxies, which highlights star formation. As this star formation dominated the observations, the galaxies appeared to be clumpy and messy, with no resemblance to the galaxy shapes we see around us today. By pushing into the infrared part of the spectrum the astronomers could observe how these distant galaxies appear in their visible rest frame (which is now redshifted).

"The huge CANDELS dataset was a great resource for us to use in order to consistently study ancient galaxies in the early Universe," concludes Lee. "And the resolution and sensitivity of Hubble's WFC3 is second to none in the infrared wavelengths needed to carry out this study. The Hubble Sequence underpins a lot of what we know about how galaxies form and evolve -- finding it to be in place this far back is a significant discovery."

The Spitzer infrared image at the top of the page shows a strange species of galaxy that lay hidden in the distant reaches of the universe, almost 13 billion light-years from Earth. Cloaked in dust and dimmed by the intervening distance, even the Hubble Space Telescope couldn't spy it. It took the revealing power of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to uncover not one, but four remarkably red galaxies. And while astronomers can describe the members of this new "species," they can't explain what makes them so ruddy.

 The Daily Galaxy via ESO


What astronomers are seeing, with the new imaging technology, are mature galaxies--not anomalistic structures that resemble galaxies that shouldn't exist and need new theories to account for them. The Big Bang Theory is wrong. What the data shows, what the photos show, is that these are mature galaxies that have taken billions of years to form but are 11 to 12 billion light years from us. Look in any direction in the sky and it's the same 11 billion years out: fully mature galaxies with heavy metal stars as well as young blue stars. Even with inflation (which no one has demonstrated how it worked or what provoked it) the galaxies are still mature, very far away, and very, very old. Let the facts come first, theory will follow. It shouldn't be theory first, facts later on and groomed to suit the theory.

Eventually scientists will be able to see the surface of the rotten sponge that is the entire universe, bubbles and bubble walls.

If the universe is expanding at an exponential rate, wouldn’t that mean that the further back in time you go, the slower the universe is expanding making its age infinite? The Hubble constant could perhaps be renamed “the Hubble variable"?

I think with all the new and old research on this subject, that it is clear we cannot unlock the mysteries of the universe by studying its light alone. We need another way of seeing a way not bound by the restrictions of the speed of light. We need to see what is happening right now, not 11 billion years ago. Trying to come to an educated guess about the formation, age, and make up of the universe by studying its billions of years old light is not going to give us a full picture. We need a technology that can see what the light isn't showing us.

That's not the only thing they've failed to predict...

Each day takes us back to the origin that finds the creation of galaxies much earlier the cosmologist supposed. We may soon find the existence is not 14 odd billion years old but much older and as such man too evolved into rational being as we find in the Turkish areas. Let us keep our minds open and hopes alive to find both universe and man's being.

You commenters have no idea how science works. Evidence and data not predicted by a scientific model like the Big Bang cosmological model is a FANTASTIC thing for science and for the scientists behind formation of the model. It means we have something to work with to improve or potentially replace the current model, coming to a better understanding of the universe. This happens constantly throughout the scientific method, throughout science history. This does not discredit science or support your pet theory or give ANY indication that some supernatural force was involved (because I know someone here will go there once they think science has had a set back). There are huge flaws with the Big Bang model. Every scientist knows this. We don't WANT a theory with flaws. So when fascinating, unpredicted data like this is discovered, scientists' ears perk up. This is great stuff, this is what grows our knowledge database and grows our models.

One last thing. This method of discovery, making models, testing predictions, refining the model, etc is what helps us arrive at the truth. What other method would anyone here suggest for arriving at the truth? Anyone? Anything? No? Didn't think so.

i`ll give you one : focus on microcosmos, huge experiments like CERN will give us a new way to understand everything, and only than we may understand the Universe.

I agree with Dr. Kook that the universe is much older and that the BB model is wrong.

I also agree with Matthew,

"That's not the only thing they've failed to predict..."

I would instead say that the BB model is just one of the many theories in Physics that I believe will eventually fall based upon evidence.


"What other method would anyone here suggest for arriving at the truth? Anyone?......"

The problem with the way science is conducted today involves
"confirmation bias." This is what I believe keeps mainstream theories seemingly unchallenged for so long. Finally when the weight of evidence against a model becomes overwhelming the mainstream has wasted billions of dollars and many scores of years looking in the wrong direction.

I believe there are many problems with today's science methods. A few of these problems are: institutional support for mainstream studies only, the "good ol boy system": those that are not contrarians will be promoted and become the leaders. Mainstream Science journals will rarely ever publish ideas or findings contrary to mainstream models.

There are no easy answers but in the next 10 years after the James Webb is up, I believe the BB model will continuously be contradicted, and in time it will be replaced by a much-older universe model.

Other models I think will eventually fall will be Quantum Theory, Special Relativity, General Relativity, and today's standard model of particle physics.

I believe the theories that will not fall but continue to evolve/ improve, are Natural Selection, Plate Tectonics, chemical theory, stellar evolution theory, and many others.

You commenters have no idea how science works. Evidence and data not predicted by a scientific model like the Big Bang cosmological model is a FANTASTIC thing for science and for the scientists behind formation of the model. It means we have something to work with to improve or potentially replace the current model, coming to a better understanding of the universe.

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