Cosmology News

Newer research shows mature galaxies at 11.5 billion years ago?

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slices of universe 11 bya/NASA, ESA, M. Kommesser


Aug. 15, 2013 — Studying the evolution and anatomy of galaxies using the Hubble Space Telescope, an international team of astronomers led by doctoral candidate BoMee Lee and her advisor Mauro Giavalisco at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have established that mature-looking galaxies existed much earlier than previously known, when the universe was only about 2.5 billion years old, or 11.5 billion years ago.

“Finding them this far back in time is a significant discovery,” says lead author Lee.

Galaxies as massive as the Milky Way are relatively rare in the young Universe. This scarcity prevented previous studies from gathering a large enough sample of mature galaxies to properly describe their characteristics. Galaxies at these early times appear to be mostly irregular systems with no clearly defined morphology. There are blue star-forming galaxies that sometimes show structures such as discs, bulges and messy clumps, as well as red galaxies with little or no star formation. Until now, nobody knew if the red and blue colors were related to galaxy morphology, the UMass Amherst authors note.

“Clearly, the Hubble Sequence formed very quickly in the history of the cosmos, it was not a slow process,” adds Giavalisco. “Now we have to go back to theory and try to figure out how and why.”

Why does everything big in nature seem to point not to a long slow process of evolution but sudden emergence and long periods of stasis?

6 Replies to “Newer research shows mature galaxies at 11.5 billion years ago?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: here is a neat little article explaining the extension of the testing for Leggett’s inequality:

    Quantum theory survives latest challenge – Dec 15, 2010
    Excerpt: Even assuming that entangled photons could respond to one another instantly, the correlations between polarization states still violated Leggett’s inequality. The conclusion being that instantaneous communication is not enough to explain entanglement and realism must also be abandoned.
    This conclusion is now backed up by Sonja Franke-Arnold and collegues at the University of Glasgow and University of Strathclyde who have performed another experiment showing that entangled photons exhibit entangled photons show stronger correlations than allowed for particles with individually defined properties – even if they would be allowed to communicate constantly.

  2. 2
    scordova says:

    Why does everything big in nature seem to point not to a long slow process of evolution but sudden emergence and long periods of stasis?

    Mabye the Designer wants to make things look like they were created vs. evolved. 🙂

    Reminds me two comments made at UD:


    I would not count the YECs out in terms of how much irritation they will be to the Darwinists in the not too distant future. They’ll continue to assail the geological ages and other sacrosanct ideas, not because of theology, but because there will be, like Michael Denton was for ID, dissent from secular quarters. It should be very entertaining!



    Get your popcorn from CostCo and save. – O’Leary 😉

  3. 3
    jerry says:

    Why does everything big in nature seem to point not to a long slow process of evolution but sudden emergence and long periods of stasis?

    Not true Denyse. I am a science junkie and a Teaching Company junkie. They have almost a 100 courses on various aspects of science and several on geology and cosmology. Geology is a series of long slow process and sudden catastrophic events. The catastrophic events are the process of long slow processes.

    Star and galaxy formation are similar to geology in that the processes are long and slow and some are catastrophic but obviously plate tectonics is much different than star formation.

    The mistake is to take the analogy further and apply it to life. There are similarities but there are major differences. There are gradual changes in life over time just as there is in geology and star formation. But then the analogy falls apart as there is another process at work in life, namely information which is not at work in star formation or geology. Only the Standard Model is at work there where something else beside the standard model is at work in life.

    The anti-ID people would love to show that life is just a result of the Standard Model but the attempt to do so has been a complete failure. They will not stop nor should they because along the way important discoveries are made, nearly always refuting the operation of just the Standard Model and pointing to what is the essential nature of life, namely information.

  4. 4
    News says:

    I know what you mean, Sal. As I mentioned a while back, I don’t have any religious interest in YEC as such; it would hardly be possible for me to read the Scriptures that way.

    What I find interesting is that findings about various things are all over the map, YET a sort of New York Times Science Section Narrative is dinned into our heads as if it were some kind of unified story. In reality, it is an endless cacophony whose only uniting theme seems to be the materialist atheism of its chief ideologues. (There is a sprinkling here and there, of course, of Templeton-funded Jesus Is My Darwin flapdoodle, as opposed to Darwin Is My Jesus flapdoodle).

    I can stand fundamentalists if they are consistent. But when the only fundamental turns out to be: Implicitly believe, this minute, what we are telling you is the true state of affairs and be prepared to absolutely disbelieve it next week when we tell you something else altogether (and just forget what we told you earlier) – OR it’ll be the worse for you … they begin to remind me of various twentieth century political movements.

    As it happens, those movements ended up having to be put down by force. But here in the twenty-first century, we are all Canadians now, and we trust it will all be managed in the nicest possible way. 😉 – O’Leary for News

  5. 5
    News says:

    Agreed re information. When life forms start to change suddenly, it is not like a rockslide because of the huge amounts of information being created, destroyed, and traded around. But if galaxies that look mature are really part of the very early universe, how would cosmology account for them (WITHOUT invoking untestable ideas like an endless succession of previous universes*)?

    * We pensioned off all the turtles whose job was supposed to explain that, see? It takes a while for the admin to take effect because they are an infinite series. 😉

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Of semi-related note:

    The Elements: Forged in Stars – video

    Michael Denton – We Are Stardust – Uncanny Balance Of The Elements – Fred Hoyle Atheist to Deist/Theist – video

    “Dr. Michael Denton on Evidence of Fine-Tuning in the Universe” (Remarkable balance of various key elements for life) – podcast

    The Place of Life and Man in Nature: Defending the Anthropocentric Thesis – Michael J. Denton – February 25, 2013
    Summary (page 11)
    Many of the properties of the key members of Henderson’s vital ensemble —water, oxygen, CO2, HCO3 —are in several instances fit specifically for warm-blooded, air-breathing organisms such as ourselves. These include the thermal properties of water, its low viscosity, the gaseous nature of oxygen and CO2 at ambient temperatures, the inertness of oxygen at ambient temperatures, and the bicarbonate buffer, with its anomalous pKa value and the elegant means of acid-base regulation it provides for air-breathing organisms. Some of their properties are irrelevant to other classes of organisms or even maladaptive.
    It is very hard to believe there could be a similar suite of fitness for advanced carbon-based life forms. If carbon-based life is all there is, as seems likely, then the design of any active complex terrestrial being would have to closely resemble our own. Indeed the suite of properties of water, oxygen, and CO2 together impose such severe constraints on the design and functioning of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems that their design, even down to the details of capillary and alveolar structure can be inferred from first principles. For complex beings of high metabolic rate, the designs actualized in complex Terran forms are all that can be. There are no alternative physiological designs in the domain of carbon-based life that can achieve the high metabolic activity manifest in man and other higher organisms.

    The Role of Elements in Life Processes

    The vastness, beauty, orderliness, of the heavenly bodies, the excellent structure of animals and plants; and the other phenomena of nature justly induce an intelligent and unprejudiced observer to conclude a supremely powerful, just, and good author.
    — Robert Boyle (1627 – 1691), father of experimental chemistry

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