Galaxy Evolution Explorer Finds Living Fossils
Some galaxies are 10 times brighter in ultraviolet than others, and are thought to be “young” galaxies undergoing violent star formation with frequent supernova explosions. In theory, they populated the early universe but should have quieted down by now. The Galaxy Evolution Explorer, an ultraviolet wide-field orbiting telescope, launched April 2003, has just made a surprise announcement: young, ultraviolet-bright galaxies are right in our backyard. The press release says that three dozen of them lie within 4 billion light-years of earth. “The recent discovery suggests our aging universe is still alive with youth.” Team leader Dr. Tim Heckman (Johns Hopkins U) added, “It’s like finding a living fossil in your own backyard. We thought this type of galaxy had gone extinct, but in fact newborn galaxies are alive and well in the universe.” (See also similar announcement last week, 12/15/2004.)
Wait a minute; they said before that most of the star birth occurred in the first epoch of the universe (see 01/08/2002 headline), and that galaxies got mature fast (see 03/03/2003 and 12/16/2002 headlines). They also told us they found “young” stars in an “old” galaxy (see 07/08/2002 headline). If they don’t even have a handle on the age of globular clusters (see 10/05/2003 headline), which are part of our own Milky Way, how can we believe them when they tell us what is old and young? This many anomalies should cause a serious reconsideration of basic assumptions, but these days in science, the model is the constant, and the data are the variables. Biologists pull the same shenanigans when telling us about earth-bound living fossils (see 10/13/2004 headline).