Astronomers have looked back to a time soon after the Big Bang, and have discovered swirling gas in some of the earliest galaxies to have formed in the Universe. These ‘newborns’ – observed as they appeared nearly 13 billion years ago – spun like a whirlpool, similar to our own Milky Way. This is the first time that it has been possible to detect movement in galaxies at such an early point in the Universe’s history.
Stephen Hawking’s PhD thesis, ‘Properties of expanding universes’, has been made freely available to anyone, anywhere in the world, after being made accessible via the University of Cambridge’s Open Access repository, Apollo.
In a galaxy far away, two dead stars begin a final spiral into a massive collision. The resulting explosion unleashes a huge burst of energy, sending ripples across the very fabric of space. In the nuclear cauldron of the collision, atoms are ripped apart to form entirely new elements and scattered outward across the Universe.
An international team of astronomers have detected glowing oxygen in a distant galaxy seen just 700 million years after the Big Bang. This is the most distant galaxy in which oxygen has ever been unambiguously detected, and it is most likely being ionised by powerful radiation from young giant stars. This galaxy could be an example of one type of source responsible for cosmic reionisation in the early history of the Universe.
Researchers have successfully simulated how a ring-shaped black hole could cause general relativity to break down: assuming the universe contains at least five dimensions, that is.
In 1995, in Geneva, PhD student Didier Queloz discovered a planet orbiting another sun – something that astronomers had predicted, but never found. Today he continues his terra hunting for extreme worlds and Earth twins in Cambridge.
Astronomers have discovered some of the oldest stars in the galaxy, whose chemical composition and movements could tell us what the Universe was like soon after the Big Bang.
An international team of astronomers led by the University of Cambridge have detected the most distant clouds of star-forming gas yet found in normal galaxies in the early Universe – less than one billion years after the Big Bang. The new observations will allow astronomers to start to see how the first galaxies were built up and how they cleared the cosmic fog during the era of reionisation. This is the first time that such galaxies have been seen as more than just faint blobs.