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Distant galaxy looks strangely normal.

David J. Thompson and Stanislav Djorgovski recently launched a search for protogalaxies -- distant, primeval galaxies undergoing their first major burst of star formation -- by analyzing light emitted from high-redshift objects illuminated by quasars behind them. Although the spectroscopic survey has revealed only a few potential candidates so far, it has turned up an unexpected bonus: a previously unseen object that appears to be one of the most distant "normal" galaxies known.

To qualify as "normal," a galaxy must undergo relatively mild evolution and must lack a quasar, or "active nucleus," at its heart. Most faraway galaxies don't fit that description.

Thompson and Djorgovski, both from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, made their finding with the 5-meter telescope at Mount Palomar Observatory near Escondido, Calif. Thompson says the object, dubbed G033+3208, has a redshift just beyond 1, which dates it back to when the universe was only half its present age. This may be just one of many faint, "ordinary" galaxies that go undetected at great distances yet contribute a substantial portion of the energy generated in the universe, Thompson suggests.
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Author:Cowen, Ron
Publication:Science News
Date:Jun 22, 1991
Words:183
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