Dust-Obscured, Active Galaxies Evolve with Their Black Holes as They Grow

First Posted: Aug 27, 2015 11:59 AM EDT

Scientists are learning a bit more about galaxies obscured by dust. With the help of data from the Subaru Strategic Program with Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC), researchers are getting a closer look at DOGs (Dust Obscured Galaxies).

How did galaxies first form and evolve during the first 13.8 billion years of the universe? That's been a question that has perplexed researchers for years. Now, researchers are looking at DOGs, which may reveal a bit more about galaxy evolution.

DOGs are a key population when it comes to tackling the mystery of the co-evolution of galaxies and black holes. DOGs are very faint in visible light, because of the large quantity of obscuring dust, but are bright in the infrared. The brightest infrared DOGs in particular are expected to harbor the most actively growing black hole.

In addition, most DOGs are seen in the epoch when the star formation activity of galaxies has reached its peak, which means that DOGs and their black holes are rapidly growing at an early stage of their co-evolution.

In this latest study, the researchers selected DOGs from early data from the HSC Subaru Strategic Program (SSP). DOGs are thousand times bright in the infrared than the optical. In the end, the scientists discovered 48 DOGs and revealed their statistical properties for the very first time.

"The Subaru Strategic Program with HSC has just begun," said Tohru Nagao, second author of the new study, in a news release. "In the near future, exciting results will be released not only from studies on galaxy evolution, but also from in fields such as solar systems, stars, nearby galaxies and cosmology."

The findings are published in the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan.

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