The farthest galaxy helps to illuminate the universe early

Newswise – Pasadena, CA– New work from an international team of astronauts including Gregory Walth at Carnegie develops our understanding of the most distant astrophysical objects – GN-z11, a 13.4 billion year light galaxy from Earth.

Created 400 million years after the Big Bang, GN-z11 was previously confirmed by space telescope data as the furthest thing yet discovered. In two newly published items Astronomy of nature papers, a team led by Linhua Jiang at the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astronomy at Peking University provided near-infrared spectacles using ground-based telescopes that determined the speed of the galaxy. They also captured an ultraviolet flash associated with a gamma-ray explosion from the galaxy.

Their findings develop our understanding of the creation of stars and galaxies in the early universe.

The Big Bang started the universe as a hot, juicy sap of highly volatile, rapidly expanding grains. After about 400,000 years, these grains cooled and coalesced into neutral hydrogen gas beginning a cosmic dark age.

Some gases were denser than others and, eventually, their material collapsed, forming the first lumps of structure in the cosmos. The energy released by these ancient stars and galaxies caused the global neutral hydrogen to gain excitement and lose an electron – a process called ionization. Because photons could travel freely through this ionized gas, the universe became lighter again.

This period of cosmic regeneration lasted several hundred million years and represents one of the most important phase transitions in the history of the universe. One of the main scientific aims of the next generation of telescopes, including the Giant Magellan Telescope being built at the Carnegie Las Campus Observatory, is to understand the second century and find light from these first objects. . However, it is very difficult for telescopes to detect glasses from such galleries, which is what makes this discovery so inspiring.

By taking an in-depth spectroscopic look at GN-z11 using the Keck I telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, the team was able to determine the 13.4 billion light-year distance. However, a study of the light emanating from GN-z11 showed an abundance of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium in the composition of the galaxy. This shows that this is not one of the original galaxies, which were created in a cold, pristine universe and did not have a cornucopia of elements that had been synthesized by generations of previous stars and spawned into the material. raw around when they exploded like supernovae.

Keck’s comments also revealed a clear explosion of light that lasted less than three minutes. Analysis of this flash was accomplished by a gamma-ray explosion in GN-z11. It was previously unknown that these onions existed only a few hundred million years after the Great Bang.

“The more we learn about the earliest things of the universe, the better we will understand how the structure of our cosmos has been shaped,” said Walth.


This work was supported by the China National Science Foundation, China National R&D Program, and the South American CAS Astronomy Center.

The Carnegie Institution for Science ( is a private, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, DC, with three research departments on both coasts. Since its founding in 1902, the Carnegie Institution has been a leading force in fundamental scientific research. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and earth and planetary science.