Evidence of galactic-sized outflows of gas found in primordial galaxies

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Evidence of galactic-sized outflows of gas in primordial galaxies as revealed by Lyman Alpha emission

vivian_u_paper_2015The nature of galaxies billions of light years away is interesting to explore because it sheds light on the conditions of the Universe when it was still relatively young. However, detailed investigations are often challenging as the distance of these galaxies pushes the limit of technological capabilities afforded by current telescopes. Our team, as led by UCR postdoctoral fellow Dr. Vivian U, students, and faculty, tackles this issue using observations taken by the Keck Telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

By breaking up the incoming light from the galaxies to obtain spectroscopic data through the Keck telescope paired with infrared images obtained from the Hubble Space Telescope [image to the right], we analyze the properties of 300 distant galaxies with an innovative approach to compare the galaxy’s morphology with its Lyman Alpha (UV emission) spectral profile shape. An in-depth study about the light’s physical origin (hot massive young stars) and its escape path through its host galaxy could reveal the interstellar environment inside the hosts.

These galaxies are not likely to be intrinsically round or be symmetric disks, but they probably host galactic-scale outflows of gas.

Link to the paper:

keckKeck Telescopes by Laurie Hatch