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Fifteen Old, Massive Galaxies Found in the Early Universe --"They Shouldn't Even Exist"




Yet another enigma has been discovered about the early Universe: galaxies that seem to come out of nowhere. Most of the galaxies that have been observed from the early days of the universe were young and actively forming stars. Now, an international team of astronomers have discovered galaxies that were already mature and massive in the early days. The finding raises new questions about how these galaxies formed so rapidly and why they stopped forming stars so early.

Fifteen mature galaxies were found at a record-breaking average distance of 12 billion light years, when the universe was just 1.6 billion years old. Their existence at such an early time raises new questions about what forced them to grow up so quickly.

Today the universe is filled with galaxies that have largely stopped forming stars, a sign of galactic maturity. But in the distant past, galaxies were still actively growing by consuming gas and turning it into stars. This means that mature galaxies should have been almost non-existent when the universe was still young.

Together with lead author Caroline Straatman and principal investigator Ivo Labbe, both of Leiden University, the astronomers used deep images at near-infrared wavelengths to search for galaxies in the early universe with red colors. The characteristic red colors indicate the presence of old stars and a lack of active star formation. The galaxies are barely detectable at visual wavelengths and are easily overlooked. But in the new near-infrared light images they are easily measured, from which it can be inferred that they already contained as many as 100 billion stars on average per galaxy.

The mature galaxies have masses similar to that of the Milky Way, which still forms new stars at a slow rate. The newly discovered galaxies must have formed very rapidly in roughly 1 billion years, with explosive rates of star-formation. The rate of star formation must have been several hundred times larger than observed in the Milky Way today.

The galaxies were discovered after 40 nights of observing with the FourStar camera on the Magellan Baade Telescope at Carnegie's Las Campanas Observatory in Chile and combined with data from Hubble's Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey and the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey. Using special filters to produce images that are sensitive to narrow slices of the near-infrared spectrum, the team was able to measure accurate distances to thousands of distant galaxies at a time, providing a 3-D map of the early universe.

The image at the top of the page shows the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF). The million-second-long exposure reveals the first galaxies to emerge from the so-called "dark ages", the time shortly after the big bang when the first stars reheated the cold, dark Universe. The new image offers insights into what types of objects reheated the Universe long ago.

This historic new view is actually two separate images taken by Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-object Spectrometer (NICMOS). Both images reveal some galaxies that are too faint to be seen by ground-based telescopes, or even in Hubble's previous faraway looks, called the Hubble Deep Fields (HDFs), taken in 1995 and 1998.

"Hubble takes us to within a stone's throw of the big bang itself," says Massimo Stiavelli of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, USA, and the HUDF project lead. The combination of ACS and NICMOS images is used to search for galaxies that existed between 400 and 800 million years (corresponding to a redshift range of 7 to 12) after the big bang. A key question for HUDF astronomers is whether the Universe appears to be the same at this very early time as it did when the cosmos was between 1 and 2 billion years old.

This finding was published by The Astrophysical Journal Letters.


Another problem with the big bang is that our black holes also existed in the same place early as they do now late; and this 'discovery' is merely the recognition of something else besides high heat. So eventually we will see that our hot young stars are a small fraction of the universe of old matter that has been there all along.

Here's the most telling remark: "Their existence at such an early time raises new questions about what forced them to grow up so quickly."
What is being said here is not that the Big Bang isn't wrong, but that scientists have to come up with a process by which these very old, metal-heavy galaxies so close to the 13.7 b/y timeline for the Big Bang formed so quickly and suddenly stopped forming. What's clear is that the Big Bang didn't happen 13.7 billion years ago. It may never have happened, or it happened hundreds of billion years ago, even trillions of years ago. They're now finding more and more galaxies farther and farther back in time and that's what they're going to keep finding. The universe is very, very old and it has both new and old galaxies in it . . . everywhere you look.

For the question, “how these galaxies formed so rapidly and why they stopped forming stars so early”, I have a very simple answer that is: The real time intervals of creation, are completely different, from the time intervals, calculates the big bang.
Of course, a new question arises: why do these time intervals be so different. I know the answer to this question, but I prefer to give this answer the experts in this issue.

Quote : "Now, an international team of astronomers have discovered galaxies that were already mature and massive in the early days"

Ha ! "in the early days" : But only if you are working to the theoretical model called "The Big Bang" as your starting point ! Perhaps it's time to recognise that there's the distinct possibility of it being inaccurate / wrong / flawed ?

IMO it doesn't hold water any more, this article is clearly another nail in its coffin, bang goes that theory !

I agree on the impossibility of a "Big Bang". Also, the uneven distribution of Super Galactic Clusters speaks against this highly speculative "theory".

"Fifteen Old, Massive Galaxies Found in the Early Universe --"They Shouldn't Even Exist" - should immediately get the scientists to discard their strange ideas and get back to the drawing board.

I agree with you Dr. Cook as with the other commenters.
The Universe is much older than we think, and the BIG Bang
is incorrect as to time and methodology.
IVAR--you are correct....BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD!!!

actually humans shouldn't even exist , not those galaxies, we are still at 1 bullet distance from the Third World War, and this time it will most probably be an atomic one. Damn, i hate men arrogance.

I have written hundreds of times about this. Scientist allover agree that every particle has a lifespan. Even a neutron. IMHO i believe that we can`t see past a certain distance because the short lifespan of the electron. Even if we consider it 14 billion years, it's still one particle that lives a short life. We will never be able to "see" beyond that. This means that the Universe could be much older or even infinite in time or space.

Ah ha! What time is it really?? The very fact that we have variables that go on infinitely - such as pi - should tell us that time is an illusion. We all acknowledge that numbers go on forever (infinitely) and that there are an infinite variation of colours and musical notes etc as these are all based on numerical values. We understand the infinity of numbers going forward from our point of reference because we have all had a beginning (our date of birth)... but consider the concept of something that has no beginning in time but has always existed. The fact that there exists infinite and eternal variables demonstrates that time as we know it is an illusion and has been created and "nestled" within eternity to enable us finite creatues to live, experience life and to make important decisions having eternal importance. The Big Bang THEORY is just that - a theory. Scientists seemed to have dropped the "theory" word as of lately. Just a little bit more humility and willingness to think "outside the box" - or rather, outside of time as we know it - may be required for modern astronomers to gain the undertanding of our universe that they are seeking....and it it the only one.....

JPowles it is great to finally come across a person that has the same view of time as I do. Time is nothing more than a mode of measurement that is not needed for anything to exist in its current state. I also agree with all of the comments here about the Big Bang. Just because we as humans can only see back 13 billion years who are we to claim thats the age of the known universe. Everyone here has some great ideas and comments. Just found this website, neat place.

A scientific theory is not your laymans theory. It means it has been proven time and time again and it can predict observations. Something that the Big Bang theory does.
If you say the Big Bang theory together with Inflation is wrong, fine, but when you come up with your own hypothesis you will need to incorperate things like the amount of He in the universe, the background radiation, The Hubble constant, etc etc.

ALso these 15 galaxies are a very difficult to explain, but they are not the norm. The norm is that the further you look, the smaller, and irregular the galaxies tend to be become. In other words, before they merged.

Massive, mature galaxies glittering bright in dawn light? A startling image in view-lens of world-frame, to be sure. Through alternative scope of observation, concept aperture clear, not so unexpected a find: These up-and-running galaxies, brought into focus from early time.

Out of cold darkness, ere fusion break of stellar day, mammoth transformation from blackest night, to radiant galaxy phase! With marveled wonder (perhaps), hard-working astronomers behold the distant past, through mighty instrumentation, technology-wrought and skillfully cast.

On threshold of the beginning, astronomers stand (but a “stone's throw” from Eternity's portal) just below summit, from arduous generational climb, shoulders of giants raised to mountain height, as Sir William Herschel, and others before his day. What do they glimpse taking shape on the horizon? Maybe that which theologians had declared centuries afore, ever first-light fell upon man's inquisitive eye, telescope illuminated, depths of night explore.

Revelation written old, a Book's celestial theme unfold – Universe Creation from nothing. Suddenly, from command of Word appeared, The Elegant Night of beautiful stars: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth.” – Gen. 1:1 NKJB.

JPowles | March 14, 2014 at 12:36 PM: Insightful, illuminating comment (descending to fathoms below my depth). Many a varied thought (as here), may open new angles of view; as one implied, in agreeable response to you.

Because the commentary of this article, turned into a debate about the theory of the big bang, I want to point out, some of my views, why I do not believe to this theory.
The most sound reasons leading scientists to believe in the theory is:
-The observation of the astronomer and physicist Hubble that the galaxies do not have steady positions within the Universe but they moves with very high speeds, at times reaching the speed of light, and also that they draw away from one another.
-The indication, concerning the quantities of hydrogen, helium and the other elements existing in the Universe. The various measurements have shown that the composition of the Universe is 75% hydrogen, 23% helium and only the remaining 2% corresponds to other elements, such as oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, etc. So, based on the laws of nuclear physics, we can calculate the percentage of hydrogen and helium that should have been produced in the Universe by the processes of the big bang. The theoretical calculation of these percentages is in absolute harmony with the percentages of hydrogen and helium found today in the Universe.
-The third reason invoking the “big bang” refers to a theoretical calculation by G. Gamow, a physicist, according to which, when the Universe was at the age of 700,000 years, a light radiation was produced, travelling today all over the Universe. So, according to G. Gamow’s calculations, today this radiation should have reached the temperature of 3 o Κ. G. Gamow’s calculation remained almost unnoticed until 1965, when A. Penzias and R. Wilson made a historical discovery, as it was found that this radiation is the light that was released 700,000 years after the big explosion, and that the cold light is the one corresponding to this radiation, which today has indeed the temperature of 3o Κ.

The above reasons while they are remarkable scientific data they not been essential foundations of the big bang. Instead there are many basic questions that have not been answered so far by the theory, such as:
-Where was the “cosmic egg” it creates the big bang found, with the infinite energy, the infinite density and the infinite temperature, from the explosion of whicha whole Universe was created, and how was it formed?
-Where and how were this infinite energy, infinite density and infinite temperature contained within the “cosmic egg” manifested?
-How was the energy of the cosmic egg transformed into matter? Specifically, how was this energy transformed and how were the quarks and then the other particles of matter formed?
-Are the quarks elementary particles, i.e., are they indivisible particles or does the division of matter proceed even further than the quark?
-What mechanism created the unified interaction that contained the four fundamental forces, which developed gradually and led to the evolution of the Universe?
-What are the particles that were the carriers of the above forces and how were they formed; and how are those particles incorporated in matter?
-How were the nuclei of the atoms formed?
-What are the causes that created gravity?
-What are the particles called gravitons and where are they found?
-What mechanism acts in order to change the sign of the “strong nuclear interaction” and render it from attractive to repulsive when the particles that carry it approach closer than a particular limit? Etc.
-Recently one more basic question rose and it was added to the list of questions expecting an answer. It was noted that the galaxies in our Universe do not move with a steady speed but their movement is at the same time accelerated. In this case, physics as a discipline and the “big bang” too, seek a convincing answer about the cause for this acceleration of the galaxies.

However, about two centuries have passed since the establishment of the theory of the “big bang” and the above questions remain still unanswered. All this, causes a great deal of insecurity in what concerns our knowledge about the evolution and the events of creation. I leave the conclusion to your decision.

Lots of great comments. This may seem like a silly question to some and I make no claims of being a scientist, but when time periods are kicked around like 700,000 years or trillionths of a second "after" the big bang, does it seem unreasonable to consider that, with the fabric of space itself in 'flux' being stretched so rapidly, that this concept we know as 'time' would also be in flux? The reason I ask is because there seems to be a lot of discoveries lately that don't make sense to established ideas and/or theories. This article in particular; these galaxies "shouldn't exist" because of the 'time' required to form them. But if time itself was in flux, wouldn't things happen regardless of how long we think it should take? Maybe it was the rapid formation of elements, stars and galaxies in the early universe that allowed things to 'settle' down and allow time to flow evenly throughout the cosmos.

Of course, we are still learning a lot about the universe so I think it's presumptuous to think we understand how time flows at all now much less how it did in the early universe.

Just a thought. Maybe a silly stupid one but a thought nonetheless.

So I've done some further reading on this subject matter and whereas the title of this article ends with the statement "They Shouldn't Even Exist" apparently there is a process known as "Starburst" that explains it !

Have a look here at some of their articles : http://phys.org/search/?search=starburst

Quite Incredible !!!

My only comment is this: Those of you who are speculating on this website, do any of you have degrees in the field of astrophysics?

My comment here is to Chris Rice. I hope you are not suggesting that a person has to have a degree in astrophysics in order to think about our galaxy and our universe. I'm not saying any of us are as smart as Einstein but even Einstein did not have a degree in astrophysics. He was a clerk in the patent office, yet he unraveled many of the secrets on the universe.

Two replies:

Rob @ March 18, 2014 at 05:31 AM -- Hardly silly or stupid was your comment. You may be on to something there, even if your not an astrophysicist.

John @ March 21, 2014 at 10:55 PM -- Well said, indeed.

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