We start with a new Hubble result. Using its near-infrared vision to peer 9 billion years back in time, the Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered an extraordinary population of young dwarf galaxies brimming with star formation. While dwarf galaxies are the most common type of galaxy in the universe, the rapid star-birth observed in these newly found examples may force astronomers to reassess their understanding of the ways in which galaxies form.
The galaxies are a hundred times less massive, on average, than the Milky Way, yet churn out stars at such a furious pace that their stellar content would double in just 10 million years. By comparison, the Milky Way would take a thousand times longer to double its star population.
“In addition to the images, Hubble has captured spectra that show us the oxygen in a handful of galaxies and confirmed their extreme star-forming nature,” said co-author Amber Straughn at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “Spectra are like fingerprints. They tell us the galaxies’ chemical composition.”
Dr. Amber Straughn is one of our guest bloggers at NASA Blueshift – so congrats to her for this discovery! Read the rest of the release.
Here is a related video, showing a zoom into the region observed.
Credit: NASA; ESA; and G. Bacon, STScI
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