ALMA finds earliest example of merging galaxies | 8/2/2017 | Staff
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Composite image of B14-65666 showing the distributions of dust (red), oxygen (green), and carbon (blue), observed by ALMA and stars (white) observed by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, Hashimoto et al.

Researchers using ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) observed signals of oxygen, carbon, and dust from a galaxy in the early Universe 13 billion years ago. This is the earliest galaxy where this useful combination of three signals has been detected. By comparing the different signals, the team determined that the galaxy is actually two galaxies merging together, making it the earliest example of merging galaxies yet discovered.

Takuya - Hashimoto - Researcher - Japan - Society

Takuya Hashimoto, a postdoctoral researcher at the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and Waseda University, and his team used ALMA to observe B14-65666, an object located 13 billion light-years away in the constellation Sextans. Because of the finite speed of light, the signals we receive from B14-65666 today had to travel for 13 billion years to reach us. In other words they show us the image of what the galaxy looked like 13 billion years ago, less than 1 billion years after the Big Bang.

ALMA detected radio emissions from oxygen, carbon, and dust in B14-65666. This is the earliest galaxy where all three of these signals have been detected. The detection of multiple signals is important because they carry complementary information.

Data - Analysis - Emissions - Blobs - Observations

Data analysis showed that the emissions are divided into two blobs. Previous observations with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) had revealed two star clusters in B14-65666. Now with the three emission signals detected by ALMA, the team was able to show that the two blobs do in-fact form...
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