NASA’S HUBBLE FINDS DWARF GALAXIES FORMED MORE THAN THEIR FAIR SHARE OF UNIVERSE’S STARS
From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton
Embargo expired: 19-Jun-2014 8:00 AM EDT Source Newsroom: Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)
Citations The Astrophysical Journal, Jun-2014
Newswise — They may be little, but they pack a big star-forming punch. New observations from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope show that small galaxies, also known as dwarf galaxies, are responsible for forming a large proportion of the universe’s stars.
GOODS Field Containing Distant Dwarf Galaxies is forming stars at an incredible rate in a region of space containing dwarf galaxies studied by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Hiding among these thousands of galaxies are faint dwarf galaxies that resided in the early universe, between 2 billion and 6 billion years after the big bang, an important time period when most of the stars in the universe were formed.
Some of these galaxies are undergoing a ferociously fast rate of star formation called “starbursts.” Astronomers are striving to deduce the galaxies’ contribution to star formation in this crucial era of the universe’s history. The region is part of the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS).
Studying this early epoch of the universe’s history is critical to fully understanding how these stars formed and how galaxies have grown and evolved 2 billion to 6 billion years after the beginning of the universe. This result supports a decade-long investigation into whether there is a link between a galaxy’s mass and its star-forming activity and helps paint a consistent picture of events in the early universe.
“We already suspected these kinds of galaxies would contribute to the early wave of star formation, but this is the first time we have been able to measure the effect they actually had,” said Hakim Atek of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, lead author of the study published in the June 19 online issue of The Astrophysical Journal.
“They appear to have had a surprisingly huge role to play.”
Previous studies of star-forming galaxies were restricted to the analysis of mid- or high-mass galaxies, leaving out the numerous “dwarf galaxies” that existed in this era of prolific star formation. Astronomers conducted a recent study using data from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) to take a further and significant step forward in understanding this formative era by examining a sample of starburst galaxies in the young universe. Starburst galaxies form stars at a furiously fast rate, far above what is considered by experts to be a normal rate of star formation.
The infrared capabilities of WFC3 have allowed astronomers to finally calculate how much these low-mass dwarf galaxies contributed to the star population in our universe.
“These galaxies are forming stars so quickly that they could actually double their entire mass of stars in only 150 million years — an incredibly short astronomical timescale,” added co-author Jean-Paul Kneib, also of EPFL.
Researchers say such a mass gain would take most normal galaxies 1 billion to 3 billion years to accomplish.
In addition to adding new insight to how and where the stars in our universe formed, this finding may also help to unravel the secrets of galactic evolution.
Galaxies evolve through a jumble of complex processes. As galaxies merge, they are consumed by newly formed stars that feed on their combined gases, and exploding stars and supermassive black holes emit galactic material — a process that depletes the mass of a galaxy.
It is unusual to find a galaxy in a state of starburst, which suggests to researchers that starburst galaxies are the result of an unusual incident in the past, such as a violent merger.
The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington, D.C.
‘THERE WILL BE NO WATER BY 2040 IF WE KEEP DOING WHAT WE ARE DOING TODAY’
From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton
Posted on July 29, 2014 by Stone Hearth News
Two new reports that focus on the global electricity water nexus have just been published. Three years of research show that by the year 2040 there will not be enough water in the world to quench the thirst of the world population and keep the current energy and power solutions going if we continue doing what we are doing today.
It is a clash of competing necessities, between drinking water and energy demand. Behind the research is a group of researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark, Vermont Law School and CNA Corporation in the US.
In most countries, electricity is the biggest source of water consumption because the power plants need cooling cycles in order to function. The only energy systems that do not require cooling cycles are wind and solar systems, and therefore one of the primary recommendations issued by these researchers is to replace old power systems with more sustainable wind and solar systems.
The research has also yielded the surprising finding that most power systems do not even register how much water is being used to keep the systems going.
By 2020 the water issue affects 30-40% of the world
“It is a huge problem that the electricity sector do not even realise how much water they actually consume. And together with the fact that we do not have unlimited water resources, it could lead to a serious crisis if nobody acts on it soon”, says Professor Benjamin Sovacool from Aarhus University.
Combining the new research results with projections about water shortage and the world population, it shows that by 2020 many areas of the world will no longer have access to clean drinking water. In fact, the results predict that by 2020 about 30-40% of the world will have water scarcity, and according to the researchers, climate change can make this even worse.
“This means that we will have to decide where we spend our water in the future. Do we want to spend it on keeping the power plants going or as drinking water? We do not have enough water to do both”, says Professor Benjamin Sovacool.
How to solve the problem?
In the reports, the researchers emphasise six general recommendations for decision-makers to follow in order to stop this development and handle the crisis around the world:
- Improve energy efficiency
- Better research on alternative cooling cycles
- Registering how much water power plants use
- Massive investments in wind energy
- Massive investments in solar energy
- Abandon fossil fuel facilities in all water stressed places (which means half the planet)
Close up on France, the US, China and India
The team of researchers conducted their research focusing on four different case studies in France, the United States, China and India respectively. Rather than reviewing the situation on a national level, the team narrowed in and focused on specific utilities and energy suppliers. The first step was identifying the current energy needs, and then the researchers made projections as far as 2040, and most of the results were surprising. All four case studies project that it will be impossible to continue to produce electricity in this way and meet the water demand by 2040.
“If we keep doing business as usual, we are facing an insurmountable water shortage – even if water was free, because it’s not a matter of the price. There will no water by 2040 if we keep doing what we are doing today. There is no time to waste. We need to act now”, concludes Professor Benjamin Sovacool.
More information about the research and links to the reports: http://www.cna.org/ewc
July 28, 2014: CNA Corporation’s Energy, Water, & Climate division releases two new reports:
i. Capturing Synergies Between Water Conservation and Carbon Dioxide Emissions in the Power Sector (http://www.cna.org/research/2014/water-conservation-carbon-dioxide)
ii. A Clash of Competing Necessities: Water Adequacy and Electric Reliability in China, India, France, and Texas (http://www.cna.org/research/2014/clash-competing-necessities)
Projections of energy futures for the U.S. suggest that electricity generation will grow by about 30 percent by 2035. Some studies suggest that expansion of conventional thermo-electric power production and economic growth will be constrained because water supplies may be insufficient.
Competing water and energy demands can be intensified by poor water-management policies, climate change, and energy and other policies crafted without consideration of water constraints. Key energy models used for policymaking in the U.S. assume that water is free and infinitely abundant.
CNA Corporation has launched a new area of analysis focused on integrated analysis of energy, water, and climate linkages. Understanding the implications of these linkages will support the development of sound policies and programs that will improve energy security, foster efficiency, and improve the likelihood of a secure, climate-friendly energy future.
– See more at: http://www.cna.org/ewc#sthash.5CsMWQJJ.dpuf
Back soon. Jeanne