Tag Archives: early universe

How do you feed a hungry quasar? With a ‘super boost,’ scientists say

The universe’s oldest, brightest beacons may have gorged themselves in the dense, cold, gas flows of the early cosmos — creating a kind of energy drink for infant black holes in the young universe — according to new research by scientists at Yale University and the Weizmann Institute in Israel. (more…)

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Time capsule of the Big Bang

Using one of the world’s premier telescopes, University of Minnesota astrophysicists Evan Skillman and Kristen McQuinn have discovered a priceless relic of the Big Bang in the Milky Way’s back yard.

They are part of an international team that found Leo P, a tiny galaxy in the constellation Leo that contains relatively few stars, but has large clouds of hydrogen and helium. The ratio of elements in those clouds is of great interest because it is believed to mirror conditions in the first few minutes after the Big Bang. (more…)

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Ultracold Big Bang experiment successfully simulates evolution of early universe

Physicists have reproduced a pattern resembling the cosmic microwave background radiation in a laboratory simulation of the Big Bang, using ultracold cesium atoms in a vacuum chamber at the University of Chicago.

“This is the first time an experiment like this has simulated the evolution of structure in the early universe,” said Cheng Chin, professor in physics. Chin and his associates reported their feat in the Aug. 1 edition of Science Express, and it will appear soon in the print edition of Science. (more…)

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Stunning images of Andromeda demonstrate the world’s most powerful astronomical camera

Stunning images of the Andromeda Galaxy are among the first to emerge from a new wide-field camera installed on the enormous Subaru Telescope atop the Hawaiian mountain Mauna Kea. The camera, called the Hyper-Suprime Cam (HSC), is the result of an international collaboration between Princeton University astrophysicists and Japanese and Taiwanese scientists.

With this new camera, researchers will be able to conduct a “cosmic census” of hundreds of millions of galaxies in a wide swath of sky in sufficient depth to probe mysteries such as dark matter and dark energy, while searching for baby galaxies in the early universe. The images of the Andromeda Galaxy demonstrate the new camera’s ability to capture images for a large-scale survey that will help scientists understand the evolutionary history and fate of the expanding universe. The camera’s enormous field of view allowed the entire Andromeda Galaxy, which is some 60,000 light years across, to be captured in a single shot. (more…)

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‘Sideline quasars’ helped to stifle early galaxy formation, says CU study

University of Colorado Boulder astronomers targeting one of the brightest quasars glowing in the universe some 11 billion years ago say “sideline quasars” likely teamed up with it to heat abundant helium gas billions of years ago, preventing small galaxy formation.

CU-Boulder Professor Michael Shull and Research Associate David Syphers used the Hubble Space Telescope to look at the quasar — the brilliant core of an active galaxy that acted as a “lighthouse” for the observations — to better understand the conditions of the early universe. The scientists studied gaseous material between the telescope and the quasar with a $70 million ultraviolet spectrograph on Hubble designed by a team from CU-Boulder’s Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy. (more…)

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Planck Mission Brings Universe into Sharp Focus

PASADENA, Calif. — The Planck space mission has released the most accurate and detailed map ever made of the oldest light in the universe, revealing new information about its age, contents and origins.

Planck is a European Space Agency mission. NASA contributed mission-enabling technology for both of Planck’s science instruments, and U.S., European and Canadian scientists work together to analyze the Planck data. (more…)

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‘Nuisance’ Data Lead to Surprising Star-Birth Discovery

When a batch of bright cosmic objects first appeared in maps in 2008 made with data from the South Pole Telescope, astronomers at the University of Chicago’s Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics regarded it only as an unavoidable nuisance.

The light sources interfered with efforts to measure more precisely the cosmic microwave background—the afterglow of the big bang. But the astronomers soon realized that they had made a rare find in South Pole Telescope’s large survey of the sky. The spectra of some of the bright objects, which is the rainbow of light they emit, were inconsistent with what astronomers expected from the well-known population of radio galaxies. (more…)

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The Universe in the Middle of Nowhere

The UA’s Chris Impey has taught cosmology to Tibetan Buddhist monastics in remote parts of India each summer for the past five years. With a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, he detailed his experiences in a book, “Humble Before the Void,” which likely will publish in 2014.

Chris Impey thinks back to the time he spent living on the edge of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, teaching modern cosmology to Buddhist monastics in India: “On a typical day, they would be up at 5 a.m. and have prayed for a few hours or done meditation before you even see them. And their attention is just as good at the end of a long day as at the beginning.” (more…)

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