Saturday, December 25, 2010

Partners in Geek

Galaxy-sized space bubbles aren't the only thing that has astronomers and astrophysicists scratching their heads of late. It seems that prevailing scientific models of how galaxies formed just might be wrong.

Astrophysicist Danilo Marchesini of Tufts University and his team have reported finding "a relatively large number of very massive, highly luminous galaxies that existed almost 12 billion years ago when the universe was still very young, about 1.5 billion years old." The problem is, by most recent models galaxies that massive - about five to ten times as massive as the Milky Way - should not have been able to form that quickly.
These estimates [of when the galaxies were formed] might be somewhat off, but it’s not clear whether any such error could be large enough to explain the findings, the researchers said. ...

“It is clear that our understanding of how massive galaxies form is still far from satisfactory,” said Marchesini.
But as Albert Einstein famously said, "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity" and the very fact of this unexpected result can lead to a better understanding of how galaxies form and evolve.

This is why I love astronomy and astrophysics. We know so much and at the same time know so little. We just keep finding new stuff out there.

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