Monday, March 31, 2014- Rachael Livermore is finding the most distant galaxies known.


Astronomer Rachael Livermore is finding the most distant galaxies in the universe.  Because the galaxies are so far, the light from them has been traveling for a duration just short of the age of the universe.  We're seeing back in time.  This ability to look back in time allows us to ask the question, "How have galaxies changed in time?".  Rachael describes the tools with which she has made discoveries- the biggest, best telescopes on Earth.  Specifically Rachael uses the tremendous light collecting ability of the Keck telescopes and their powerful instruments, to gauge the distance (or redshift) of the galaxies based on the extent to which the spectrum of the object is stretched in wavelength.  Dr. Livermore's most recent work has been on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) "Frontier Fields".  This special project combines HST's precision, with a special phenomenon of space called gravitational lensing.  The frontier fields are revealing the most distant galaxies humans have ever detected- galaxies in the infancy of the Universe.