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Recent news from The Johns Hopkins University

This section contains regularly updated highlights of the news from around The Johns Hopkins University. Links to the complete news reports from the nine schools, the Applied Physics Laboratory and other centers and institutes are to the left, as are links to help news media contact the Johns Hopkins communications offices.

 

Johns Hopkins Astrophysicist Spies Ultra-Distant Galaxy Amidst Cosmic ‘Dark Ages’

With the combined power of NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes as well as a cosmic magnification effect, a team of astronomers led by Wei Zheng of The Johns Hopkins University has spotted what could be the most distant galaxy ever seen. Light of the young galaxy captured by the orbiting observatories shone forth when the 13.7-billion-year-old universe was just 500 million years old. The far-off galaxy existed within an important era when the universe began to transit from the so-called “Dark Ages.” During this period, the universe went from a dark, starless expanse to a recognizable cosmos full of galaxies. The discovery of the faint, small galaxy accordingly opens up a window into the deepest, remotest epochs of cosmic history.

“This galaxy is the most distant object we have ever observed with high confidence,” said Zheng, a principal research scientist in The Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins’ Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and lead author of a new paper appearing in Nature tomorrow. “Future work involving this galaxy – as well as others like it that we hope to find – will allow us to study the universe’s earliest objects and how the Dark Ages ended.”

NASA Selects Johns Hopkins-Led Science Investigation Upgrade for Flying Observatory

A proposal led by a Johns Hopkins University astrophysicist has been selected by NASA as part of a science instrument upgrade to the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). The instrument, the High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera (HAWC), will provide sensitive, versatile and powerful imaging capability to the SOFIA user community. The Johns Hopkins-led investigation is one of two that will allow SOFIA, with the enhanced HAWC, to measure the structure and strength of magnetic fields in diverse objects throughout the universe, such as star-forming clouds and galaxies. This will help astronomers better understand how stars, planets and galaxies form and evolve. Johannes Staguhn of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Astrophysical Sciences will lead the team.

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