A "sunburst" from the early universe in 12 copies

Håkon Dahle (ITA/UiO) and his international team observed straight into the bright and hot heart of a galaxy 11 billion years old in no less than 12 multiple, gravitationally lensed images. The finding casts light onto a crucial era in our universe’s history: the epoch of reionization.

A Hubble Space Telescope photo of a massive galaxy cluster, about 4.6 billion light years away. Along its borders four bright arcs are visible; these are copies of the same distant galaxy, nicknamed the Sunburst Arc Galaxy. Photo: ESA/NASA/Rivera-Thorsen.

The Sunburst Arc galaxy is almost 11 billion lightyears away, however it is among the brightest lensed galaxies known. The last image obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) revealed not one, not two, but 12 multiple, gravitationally lensed images of a young, compact, extremely bright, strongly star-forming region in the heart of the galaxy. 

This galaxy is among the few dozen galaxies where astronomers can actually measure the type of energetic ionizing UV radiation that was produced by stars in the first galaxies during the epoch of reionization, ending the so-called "dark ages" of the Universe".

The finding is published in the prestigious journal  Science  on November 8th.

Read the full article on Titan.uio.no

Tags: gravitational lensing, Sunburst galaxy, extragalactic astronomy, Science By Martina D'Angelo
Published Nov. 8, 2019 11:00 AM - Last modified Nov. 8, 2019 11:03 AM