Scientists: «the cosmic serpent» revealed the mystery of the birth of the first stars

© ESA/Hubble, NASA, A. CavaДревняя galaxy, gravitational lens which turned into a snake spaceScientists: «the cosmic serpent» revealed the mystery of the birth of the first stars© ESA/Hubble, NASA, A. Cava

. Observation of an unusual galaxy that has become like a giant snake through its curvature a gravitational lens has helped astronomers to find out how to create one of the first stars in the young Universe, according to a paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

«We have long thought that the giant gas accumulation in length of thousands of light-years, the birthplace of the first stars of the Universe actually consisted of many small and unrelated «star nurseries». We were incredibly lucky that we were able to confirm these assumptions with the help of pictures obtained through «cosmic serpent» — says Valentina Tamburello (Valentina Tamburello) from the University of Zurich (Switzerland).

It is believed that any concentration of matter of a large mass, including dark interacts with the light and causes its rays to bend, as do conventional optical lenses. Such an effect scientists call gravitational lensing. In some cases, the curvature of space helps astronomers to see objects svargaloka – the first galaxies and their nuclei-quasars — which would be unobservable from the Ground without gravity «increase».

If the two quasar, galaxy, or other object placed side by side to observers on Earth, there is an interesting thing – the light of the more distant object will split when passing through the gravitational lens of the first. Because of this we will see not two, but five bright points, four of which will be light «copies» of the more distant object.

This structure is often called the «Einstein cross» due to the fact that its existence is predicted by the theory of relativity. Most importantly, this theory says that each copy of the object will represent a «picture» of the quasar, galaxy or supernova in different periods of their life due to the fact that the light spent different amounts of time to the output of a gravitational lens.

One of the most striking examples of such lenses is the accumulation of MACSJ1206 galaxies in the constellation Virgo, known among astronomers called a «space serpent». It received this name due to the fact that the attraction of this group of «star cities» of the light curves even more distant galaxies so that she turned into a streak of light, similar to a giant snake.

Its «mirror» reflection, as noted, Tamburello and her colleagues who have a normal, undistorted shape, which allowed the scientists to use this «snake» for the study of the structure of a stellar nursery in the ancient galaxy, and test today’s popular theory that the dust and gas behave in a «young» Universe not as it is today.

The fact that other images of gravitational lenses obtained through «Hubble», showed that such galaxies consist of several giant «stellar nurseries» wide by thousands of light years and a mass of billions of Suns, in which are formed a bizarre giant stars, composed almost entirely of pure hydrogen. No such accumulations of gas or such luminaries do not exist today, in principle, that has led many cosmologists to believe that in the early Universe could dominate quite different than now.

As shown by the observation of «copies» of the increased galaxy, in fact this is not true – a giant cloud of gas, found by Hubble, in fact, represent dozens of major «stellar nursery» in length, 60 to 90 light years across, are located close to each other. Their weight is much more modest – they are heavier than the Sun only in the tens of millions, not billions of times.

As acknowledged by the researchers, it is also difficult to explain by modern theories of the evolution of galaxies, but they also can be divided into many small objects that we do not see. On the other hand, it does not explain why within these clusters observed high density and rate of formation of stars.

New generation ground-based telescopes such as the European E-ELT and TMT controversial American, as I hope, Tamburello and her colleagues, will help to test this hypothesis and to fully solve the mystery of why these galaxies new bodies have been formed in hundreds or thousands of times faster than stars are born in the milky Way today.