ASTRONOMY

Telescope in Canaries captures deepest image of the Universe

The photograph, taken from the island of La Palma, has found a stellar halo, which supports the presently accepted model of galaxy formation

A halo of approximately four billion stars around the UGC00180 galaxy.
A halo of approximately four billion stars around the UGC00180 galaxy. Gabriel Pérez (IAC)

Studying the objects that are furthest away in the Universe is a complicated task, given the scant contrast with the background, which makes measuring the light that reaches us difficult. However, a study from the Canaries Astrophysics Institute (IAC) has managed it.

With the aim of establishing the limits of observation, the researchers used the Gran Telescopio de Canarias on the island of La Palma

With the aim of establishing the limits of observation, they used the Gran Telescopio de Canarias on the island of La Palma, which is the largest optical-infrared telescope in the world. The image they obtained is 10 times deeper than any other previously observed from the Earth.

The results of this project, which have been published in the specialized magazine Astrophysical Journal, have found a faint halo of stars around the galaxy UGC0180, which is 500 million light years away from us. The findings confirm the existence of the stellar halos predicted by current theoretical models.

After an exposure time of eight hours, the researchers found a weak halo made up of four billion stars around the UGC00180 galaxy. Thanks to the success of this technique, Ignacio Trujillo, the first author of the study and a researcher from the IAC, has set the objective of extending the study to other galaxies to see if the current model of galaxy formation is correct.