News / Science & Technology

Telescopes Spot Colliding Galaxies

Several telescopes have teamed up to discover a rare and massive merging of two galaxies that took place when the universe was just 3 billion years old (its current age is about 14 billion years). (Photo: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech/UC Irvine/STScI/Keck/NRAO/SAO
Several telescopes have teamed up to discover a rare and massive merging of two galaxies that took place when the universe was just 3 billion years old (its current age is about 14 billion years). (Photo: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech/UC Irvine/STScI/Keck/NRAO/SAO

Related Articles

Video Moon Hit By Largest Meteoroid Impact in 8 Years

Flash was nearly 10 times as bright as anything ever seen before

Video Asteroid Sampling Mission Gets Green Light

OSIRIS-REx is expected to bring back a minimum of 60 grams of surface material from asteroid Bennu

Future Astronauts Could Print Food

According to NASA, printing food could have applications beyond space
VOA News
Astronomers have gotten a rare glimpse of two distant and ancient galaxies merging.

The galaxies, called HXMM01, are about 11 billion light years from Earth, meaning they offer a look at the universe when it was only 3 billion years old. Inside the massive formation are some 400 billion stars.

Astronomers have long wondered how galaxies grew. When the universe was three to four billion years old, it was believed to have been populated with large reddish elliptical-shaped galaxies made up of old stars. Scientists wanted to know if those galaxies built up over time or formed through collisions.

According to NASA, HXMM01 suggests that massive mergers of galaxies are responsible for giant elliptical galaxies.

"We're looking at a younger phase in the life of these galaxies -- an adolescent burst of activity that won't last very long," said Hai Fu of the University of California at Irvine, who is lead author of a new study describing the results. The study is published in the May 22 online issue of Nature.

The merging galaxies are massive star factories, creating over 2,000 stars a year, NASA said. The Milky Way gives birth to two or three stars a year by comparison.

NASA said that the merging of galaxies is fairly common, but that HXMM01 is unusual “because of the prolific amounts of gas and star formation, and the sheer size of the merger at such a distant epoch.”

HXMM01 was spotted by the Herschel space observatory, a European Space Agency with follow up studies by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope.

Below is a NASA simulation of the collision. It shows  the merging of two massive galaxies, sped up to cover 1.5 billion years of time. The merging galaxies are split into two views: a visible-light view is on the left, in which blue shows young stars and red indicates older stars and dust. The view at right shows emission from dust, which is what infrared telescopes like the Herschel Space Observatory see. When the galaxies finally merge, the strong burst of star formation can be seen best in infrared views.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Ritika from: YsxinMulEbz
June 03, 2013 12:27 PM
Mette, you are an artist of refioctlens! They are fantastic. I have a feeling that I am looking at parallel worlds.Beautiful photography and very impressive. Love it very, very much.I wish you a beautiful week and creative!!!

by: Ettore Greco
May 24, 2013 2:53 PM
Contrary to what science still believes, at the time of the Big Bang there were no atoms but only waves carrying energy through the infinite Void. If we could view the Universe from outside, It would look like an egg-shaped cloud with winds running in perpetual motion inside of It. The energy is like those winds running at maximum speed and pushing out the borders of the Universe.

The Universe continues to expand as the waves that travel at the border of the Universe have never encountered, nor will ever encounter, any interference from the Void. These waves will forever expand the Space of the Universe they create and leave behind. Wave-behavior relates to the medium in which the waves travel.

Thus, wave-behavior at the border of the Universe is different than wave-behavior within the Universe. Inside the Universe, waves change their frequencies by colliding with other energy during their travel. These waves, because of the encountered interference, continue to transform part of their original energy in other forms. Waves travel gradually releasing heat, or amounts of energy, and their original short wavelengths, in time become longer and longer as they carry less and less energy than they did when they first started to travel. These waves lose energy releasing it in form of other waves with wavelengths longer than their own.

For example, the gamma rays, over time, diminish their energy level (and their frequency) to become X rays, from X rays they will become ultraviolet and so on. The original quantum is not lost but distributed into other forms of energy through "spontaneous symmetry breaking".

Once reached an almost flat longitude (and lower critical energy level) these waves solidify into hydrogen atoms breaking up their energy in opposite elements, like the split ends of a broken hair. When the hydrogen atoms are reached by the heat of other incoming waves they fuse together to create more complex forms of energy.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
May 24, 2013 12:00 PM
Story story...; Once upon a time... Cock and bull stories abound in every age and race. In Nigeria we are told stories of how the tortoise tricked the lion; why the lizard cannot talk, etc. In scientific economies of Europe and America we are told of how the galaxies interact and things that are done light years ago which the ordinary man has no way of verifying - the star wars. Well and good for you. But if you must know anything, what the ordinary man wants to see apart from the fables acted out at Hollywood, is the eureka solution to common diseases that are growing more scientific than the scientist.

Rather than find solution to man's problems, scientists are creating more by trying to hoodwink humanity with views of colliding comets that retrospectively happened not within verifiable time range, but out of and beyond human faculties. Haba scientists! Is this what you wish to contribute to this age? We wish to see cure for illnesses and aging; we want to find cure for depression and oppressions; we love to have a world where the most intricate of accidents will no longer be life threatening because of cure availability. Showing us a world that existed trillions of years before now does not achieve progress except trick the imagination.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syriai
November 26, 2015 5:21 AM
Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs