DEC 11, 2016 09:05 AM PST

Dwarf Galaxies Were an Instrumental Part of the Early Universe

When you think about the universe today, you probably think about an infinitely-expanding dark bubble filled with light swirls or clusters known as galaxies. For the most part, that’s pretty much what the universe is, but those galaxies play an important role in defining exactly what the universe itself really is.
 
There are all kinds of different galaxies out there, of all different shapes and sizes, but in the early universe, there were probably a lot of very small galaxies called dwarf galaxies, which are much dimmer and harder to spot with telescopes than regularly-sized galaxies or even supermassive galaxies.
 

Dwarf galaxies are small and faint, but researchers say they could tell a story of the early universe.

 
Dwarf galaxies have fewer stars in them, which means they emit less light. This is why they’re harder to see with our space telescopes, but as noted in a paper in the Astrophysical Journal, they can still be spotted using a technique known as gravitational lensing, which is where you use another object directly in the line of sight as a lens to see objects far behind it.
 
Researchers from the University of California, Riverside have used the gravitational lensing technique to spot distant dwarf galaxies that probably fueled a lot of the early universe’s first stars. Because they’re so far away, we would not have been able to observe them directly with current space observation technology had it not been for gravitational lensing.
 
Using the Wide Field Camera 3 from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Multi-Object Spectrograph for Infrared Exploration (MOSFIRE), the researchers were able to determine that these dwarf galaxies were between two to six billion years old and were anywhere from 10-100 times fainter than your average galaxy and that would have existed in this time period.
 
The researchers came to the conclusion that there was a higher population of these variants of dwarf galaxies in the early universe, which would have evolved over a very long time to produce the ecstatic array of larger and brighter galaxies it has today.
 
More importantly, these dwarf galaxies would have put off over half of the universe’s ultraviolet light at the time, which happens to be a sign of the formation of young and hot stars from within them.
 
The researchers conclude that these dwarf galaxies would have played a big role in the reionization era of the early universe, but there’s still very little known about the dwarf galaxies today because of the limitations of modern space observation equipment.
 
They note their excitement to use upcoming space observation tools, like the James Webb Space Telescope, which is slated for a 2018 launch, which is said to be able to penetrate far deeper into space with its larger primary mirror and more powerful sensory equipment.
 
Source: University of California, Riverside

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
OCT 28, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 28, 2018
How NASA's Apollo Program Changed Spaceflight Forever
NASA’s Apollo program trekked carefully along the dangerous line separating risk from reward, and as it would seem, the American space agency may hav...
NOV 09, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 09, 2018
The Quest to Determine the Length of a Saturnian Day Becomes the Gift that Keeps on Giving
As humankind sets sight on the interstellar space, some may forget that there are still plenty of mysteries remained within our planetary backyard. Take Sa...
NOV 28, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 28, 2018
NASA Lucy Mission to Visit Jupiter's Trojan Asteroids is Poised to Launch in 2021
Why are we here, and where did we come from? Humankind has been asking these questions since the dawn of time, but legitimate answers appear to be highly e...
DEC 09, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 09, 2018
NASA's InSight Lander Captured the Sound of Martian Wind
It’s been less than two weeks since NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander touch...
DEC 10, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 10, 2018
NASA's Voyager 2 Probe Leaves the Heliosphere and Enters Interstellar Space
A nostalgic NASA issued a public statement on Monday to announce that its 41-year-old Voyager 2 spacecraft officially left the heliosphere and entered the ...
DEC 23, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 23, 2018
Here's Why We Don't Have a Picture of a Black Hole Yet
All black hole images you've ever seen have been artist's renditions; but in 2017, a team of astronomers set out to officially photograph of a blac...
Loading Comments...