21 | AGO | 2019
Mexican researcher deciphers ancient cosmic secrets
Globular clusters formed soon after the Big Bang - Photo: File Photo/NASA-ESA

Mexican researcher deciphers ancient cosmic secrets

08/05/2019
15:00
EFE
Mexico City
-A +A
Rosa Amelia González Lópezlira from the Radioastronomy and Astrophysics Institute led the team of experts

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Rosa Amelia González Lópezlira, a UNAM researcher, led an international research project that discovered globular clusters in the spiral galaxy Messier 106 (M106), which formed soon after the Big Bang, announced the university on Sunday.

The globular clusters are “a large group of old stars that are closely packed in a symmetrical, somewhat spherical form,” according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica; in the Milky Way, there are at least 160 globular clusters, said the UNAM.

These globular clusters formed soon after the Big Bang and just before the galaxy formation rate reached its peak, 10,000 million years ago; this event is known as “cosmic noon.”

Therefore, they can provide information on this early stage and clues on how galaxies formed.

According to the research results, those globular clusters in M106 form a disk that rotates as fast as the gas disk in the galaxy. The researcher from the Radioastronomy and Astrophysics Institute from the UNAM said that “These had never been observed before.”

The results were published on May 1 in The Astrophysical Journal.

“The hypothesis is that its space distribution (of the clusters) that we saw today is the same they had when they formed. Therefore, this disk of clusters that haven't been perturbed could provide us with information about the early stages in the evolution of the Universe,” González Lópezlira explained.

The research team was formed by 13 scientists from Mexico, Australia, Germany, Brazil, Chile, France, and Denmark.

The Mexican team was formed by Rosa Amelia González Lópezlira; Divaraka Mayya, a researcher from the National Astrophysics, Optics, and Electronics Institute (INAOE); Laurent Loinard from the Radioastronomy and Astrophysics Institute, and Luis Lomelí, from the INAOE.

For the research, the astrophysicists used the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope and then the Canaries Great Telescope, located in La Palma island.

“Thanks to (the fact that) Mexico participates in the Canaries Great Telescope, the biggest one in the world, we could carry out a part of the research there. We used a multi-object spectroscopy called OSIRIS. There we observed 23 candidates to globular clusters in the fields,” said González Lópezlira.

The researchers confirmed that the number of globular clusters in M106 is proportional to the mass of its central supermassive black hole, as in the case of elliptical galaxies.

Its black hole weights 40 million solar masses, 10 times more than the Milky Way.

The researcher explained that these type of researches in other spiral galaxies could explain the role of the proposed hypotheses of the formation of the galaxies, their globular cluster systems, and its black holes.

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