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The oldest dust bunnies in the universe

2 Aug 2017, 21:29 UTC
The oldest dust bunnies in the universe
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Title: An amplified dusty star-forming galaxy at z=6: unveiling an elusive population of galaxies
Authors: Jorge A. Zavala, Alfredo Monta, David H. Hughes, et al.First Author’s Institution: Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica, Puebla, MexicoStatus: Submitted to Nature Astronomy, open access
A tale of two galaxy typesDust isn’t just something to sweep up under your bed. In fact, when we observe a galaxy outside the Milky Way, dust is everywhere, strongly affecting what we see. There’s dust between us and the galaxy (including dust in the Milky Way itself), which absorbs the light from the galaxy. We can correct for this using dust maps, which tell us how much dust is in the direction of the galaxy.Then there’s dust within the galaxy itself, which is a bit trickier. All of the radiation produced within the galaxy—especially radiation from star formation—is susceptible to absorption by this dust. The dust then re-radiates the absorbed energy in the form of infrared light. Infrared light, therefore, traces both the amount of dust and the amount of star formation in a galaxy.*Some galaxies appear to be especially luminous in the infrared. In the local universe, these are called ultraluminous infrared galaxies, or ULIRGs. ...

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