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.
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.