Discovered the galactic 'mammoths' of the young Universe

A scientific team led by researchers from the Center for Astrobiology (CAB, CSIC-INTA) and the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) has discovered some of the most massive and oldest galaxies in the Universe, based on the data obtained with three of the telescopes. most powerful in the world today: the Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes and the Gran Canarias Telescope. This discovery will serve to improve current models of galactic formation.

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According to the so-called hierarchical structure model, the theory most accepted by scientists to explain the large-scale structure of the Universe, the largest and most massive galaxies have been formed from smaller systems that have been fusing slowly but continuously over time, to give rise to galaxies such as the Milky Way or the giant ellipticals and large spirals that we see in our neighborhood.

With the objective of advancing our understanding of galaxy formation and improving the hierarchical model, astrophysicist Belén Alcalde Pampliega, a doctoral student at the UCM, works on her doctoral thesis under the direction of Pablo G. Pérez González, of the Center for Astrobiology , and Guillermo Barro of the University of the Pacific, looking for more massive and oldest galaxies in the Universe. "We have known for years that the hierarchical model has its gaps, and one of the most important is that there are very massive galaxies, too much for that model, which were already formed a long time ago, when the Universe was one third of its age. now, "explains Pérez González.

The study, which has been published in the journal Astrophysical Journal, reflects the discovery of about thirty massive galaxies, each with more than twice the mass of the Milky Way, and formed in the first 1,500 million years of the Universe, a 10 % of your current age. "The most recent simulations of the formation of galaxies like Illustris or Eagle, based on the hierarchical model, do not have objects like the ones we have discovered, they should not exist," says Mayor Pampliega.

The publication also includes researchers from the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, the Autonomous University of Madrid, the University of Pennsylvania, the Università di Padova and the European Space Agency (ESA).

 

Fuente: UCC-CAB

 

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