How do distant galaxies differ from those nearby?
Please tell me if I'm picturing this correctly. The further out into the universe we can see, the further in time we observe. In our own area, or neighborhood, most of the galaxies are like our own, spiral in nature, but at the very edge of the observable universe, the galaxies are eliptical? Globular? Non-spiral? Is that the basic observational model? and, if so, is this model true, no matter where in the universe we look?
Or are there, let's say, pockets of spiral galaxies even at the very edge of the observable universe?
It's not that nearby galaxies are spiral and distant ones elliptical; spirals and ellipticals are found both nearby and in the most distant regions of the universe. Ellipticals are more often found in clusters, while spirals are more often found in the field. There are some differences between nearby galaxies and more distant galaxies, but none of them are really morphological, meaning that as far back as we can see, galaxies have pretty much the same shapes out there as they do nearby. For instance, we expect more distant galaxies to be bluer and more metal-poor, because they are younger. This seems to be the general trend.
Now, some galaxies seen in the Hubble Deep Field, the most distant galaxies observed, do appear to be "in pieces," i.e. single spiral arms, half-galaxies, and things like that. It's unclear, though, as to whether those galaxies really represent the majority of galaxies at that distance. After all, we can only see the brightest ones, and those always tend to be the most active and most peculiar.
And finally, yes, the distribution of galaxy shapes is the same no matter which direction you look.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
- Why does the apparent density of galaxies drop off at larger distances?
- What is the most distant known galaxy?
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 18187 times since April 30, 2002.
Last modified: December 22, 2002 4:58:11 PM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)