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Hubble telescope helps find six ‘dead’ galaxies from the early universe

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Hubble telescope helps find six ‘dead’ galaxies from the early universe

You’d think large galaxies in the early universe would have had plenty of ‘fuel’ left for new stars, but a recent discovery suggests that wasn’t always the case. Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) have found six early galaxies (about 3 billion years after the Big Bang) that were unusually “dead” — that is, they’d run out of the cold hydrogen necessary for star formation. This was the peak period for star births, according to lead researcher Kate Whitaker, so the disappearance of that hydrogen is a mystery.

The team found the galaxies thanks to strong gravitational lensing, using galaxy clusters to bend and magnify light from the early universe. Hubble identified where stars had formed in the past, while ALMA detected cold dust (a stand-in for the hydrogen) to show where stars would have formed if the necessary ingredients had been present.

The galaxies are believed to have expanded since, but not through star creation. Rather, they grew through mergers with other small galaxies and gas. Any formation after that would have been limited at most.

The findings are a testament to the combined power of Hubble and ALMA, not to mention Hubble’s capabilities decades after its launch. At the same time, it underscores the limitations of both the technology and human understanding by raising a number of questions. Whitaker noted that scientists don’t know why the galaxies died so quickly, or what happened to cut off the fuel. Was the gas heated, expelled or just rapidly consumed? It might take a while to provide answers, if answers are even possible.

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Pick up this RTX 3070 Alienware laptop at a staggering $530 off

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Pick up this RTX 3070 Alienware laptop at a staggering $530 off

Alienware M15 laptop

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Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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What to look for in a cheap Chromebook

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What to look for in a cheap Chromebook

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As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.

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Arturia’s V Collection instruments now have native M1 Mac support

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Arturia’s V Collection instruments now have native M1 Mac support

It’s now that much easier to use Arturia’s softsynths on your brand new MacBook. Arturia has released a free V Collection 8.2 update that adds native support to the (currently discounted) suite for Macs with M1 processors. That should improve performance, as you might guess, but it could also help with battery life if you need to play unplugged.

Other speed updates are in store. The update boosts the performance of 4K interfaces through a new framework, and presets from the V Collection factory libraries now load up to twice as quickly. You’ll also find ODDSound MTS-ESP microtuning compatibility for the Clavinet V, DX7 V, Piano V and Stage-73 V.

This might be an important update if you use softsynths for music-making. Arturia has a reputation for virtual instruments that are both meticulous and relatively accessible. This both makes V Collection more viable on M1 Macs and gives you more incentive to rely on digital synths instead of hunting down their costlier real-world counterparts.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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