Printer Friendly

Galactic spider.

Mighty galaxies from little galaxies grow. That's the standard scenario for galaxy formation, and now astronomers have caught on-camera evidence of the process. A Hubble Space Telescope image has revealed the assembly of a large galaxy from dozens of smaller ones in the early universe.

Hubble zoomed in on the radio-emitting galaxy MRC 1138-262, which George Miley of Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands and his colleagues have now nicknamed "the spiderweb," for its complexity and dumpiness. The picture shows the small galaxies bunching together within the larger one, capturing an event that dates from just 3 billion years after the Big Bang.

The arrangement supports the bottom-up model, which holds that galaxies and galaxy clusters assemble from smaller building blocks. The MRC 1138-262 finding, which Miley's team describes in the Oct. 10 Astrophysical Journal Letters, also corroborates the idea that distant radio-emitting galaxies formed the giant galaxies seen at the centers of clusters in the cosmos today.

The data "show that mergers are likely a very important process in the formation of massive galaxies," comments Christopher Conselice of the University of Nottingham in England. "It also tells us when this process occurs."--R.C.
COPYRIGHT 2006 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:caught by Hubble Space Telescope
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 4, 2006
Previous Article:Jovian storm grows stormier.
Next Article:Nicotine during rat youth primes brain for harder drugs.

Related Articles
Hubble camera finds huge star clusters.
Orbiting Hubble eyes active galaxy's disk.
Hubble eyes the shape of distant galaxies.
Hubble offers clues to galaxy evolution.
Hubble finds an off-center black hole.
The real meaning of 50 billion galaxies.
Dust buster eyes fireworks in nearby galaxy.
In the universe, dwarfs may pop up last. (Birth of a Tiny Galaxy).
Mature before their time: in the youthful universe, some galaxies were already old.
Bare-naked galaxies: in cosmic slam dances, some galaxies run out of gas.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters