Astronomers find 72 previously undetected galaxies

Astronomers using the MUSE instrument on the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile have identified 72 galaxies never before detected.
By Delila James | Nov 30, 2017
Astronomers using the MUSE instrument on the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile have identified 72 galaxies never before detected.

The groundbreaking discovery has resulted in 10 science papers published in a special edition of Astronomy & Astrophysics.

By focusing on the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) the tiny patch of southern sky much studied by the Hubble telescope researchers have created the deepest spectroscopic survey every made, according to an ESO statement.

The original HUDF images, published in 2004, revealed a myriad of galaxies dating to less than a billion years after the Big Bang.

But now, MUSE has revealed 72 galaxies never seen before.

"MUSE can do something that Hubble can't it spits up the light from every point in the image into its component colors to create a spectrum," says Roland Bacon of the Centre de recherch astrophysique de Lyon, France, in the statement. "This allows us to measure the distance, colors and other properties of all the galaxies we can see including some that are invisible to Hubble itself."

The dim, distant galaxies are observed near the birth of the universe some 13 billion years ago.

"MUSE has the unique ability to extract information about some of the earliest galaxies in the Universe even in a part of the sky that is already very well studied," explains lead author of one of the science papers, Jarle Brinchman, of the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences at CAUP in Porto, Portugal. "We learn things about these galaxies that is only possible with spectroscopy, such as chemical content and internal motions not galaxy by galaxy but all at once for all the galaxies!"

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