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[PO] Discovery refutes previous theory about galaxies

post #1 of 20
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Quote:
The world’s largest optical telescope has allowed University of Florida astronomers to see new details about deep space galaxies, finding new clues to explain the evolution of galaxies like our own.

Before these new observations, it was believed that galaxies in the young universe were much denser and compact than they are now, undergoing at some point a mysterious transformation growing in size and mass. Astronomers around the world struggled to find an explanation.

Now, a UF-led team has used the Gran Telescopio Canarias, or GTC, to point out the solution to the mystery: The data gathered by lesser telescopes was not accurate enough, which led to misinterpretation.

The GTC in Spain’s Canary Islands has a primary mirror of 10.4 meters, or 27.6 feet, which allowed the team led by UF graduate student Jesus Martinez and professor Rafael Guzman, to observe four of these dense galaxies with a level of detail unachieved so far. They found that the four were six times less massive, on average, than previously believed, as described in the September issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
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post #2 of 20
I'm not an astronomer or astrophysicist, but this part makes no sense to me:

Quote:
It takes time for light to travel through the universe. Considering the great distances the light must travel to get to Earth, looking through larger telescopes means not only being able to see farther in distance, but also back in time — in this case 9 billion years ago.
What does it matter how much light you can collect? The light rays from the galaxies traveled the exact same distance to get to earth--you couldn't possibly perceive a difference in the timescale observed just by, for example, using a larger aperture optical telescope.

I can see, for example, if you were able to gather more light you could have a more accurate representation of the objects (like seeing that they were more or less massive than previously expected), but you wouldn't be perceiving anything in terms of the timescale for the galaxies that you're observing. Unless there's something I'm missing?

edit--my assumption was that they're looking at the exact same galaxies that were observed with other telescopes, and that they're able to see "further" back in time. I think I understand now that they're observing not the same galaxies, but rather ones farther away--in which case, that makes sense now.
Edited by guyladouche - 10/11/11 at 5:30am
    
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post #3 of 20
buhu big deal. All we can do is watch....must go to Mars.
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post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by guyladouche View Post
I'm not an astronomer or astrophysicist, but this part makes no sense to me:



What does it matter how much light you can collect? The light rays from the galaxies traveled the exact same distance to get to earth--you couldn't possibly perceive a difference in the timescale observed just by, for example, using a larger aperture optical telescope.

I can see, for example, if you were able to gather more light you could have a more accurate representation of the objects (like seeing that they were more or less massive than previously expected), but you wouldn't be perceiving anything in terms of the timescale for the galaxies that you're observing. Unless there's something I'm missing?

edit--my assumption was that they're looking at the exact same galaxies that were observed with other telescopes, and that they're able to see "further" back in time. I think I understand now that they're observing not the same galaxies, but rather ones farther away--in which case, that makes sense now.
I think it's more the fact that they have a higher detailed picture of the galaxies they are studying and therefore can attain more information from them.
 
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post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrimpykins View Post
I think it's more the fact that they have a higher detailed picture of the galaxies they are studying and therefore can attain more information from them.
I think it's because they have a more sensitive telescope that is able to see further in distance--so essentially can see further back in time and get a better picture of what happens to galaxies on a larger timescale than previously measured.
    
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post #6 of 20
University of Florida :3
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post #7 of 20
When I saw the title of this thread I thought it meant the Discovery Channel.
post #8 of 20
Go Gators
post #9 of 20
pics or it didn't happen.
post #10 of 20
I thought that galaxies in the early universe were less dense, and only formed larger clusters after colliding with each other during expansion. Matter in the early universe was nearly uniform, then as the size of the universe expanded, they formed filaments of density and clusters of galaxies, etc.
    
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