The premature formation of high-redshift galaxies

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42 Scopus citations


Observations with WFC3/IR on the Hubble Space Telescope and the use of gravitational lensing techniques have facilitated the discovery of galaxies as far back as z ∼ 10-12, a truly remarkable achievement. However, this rapid emergence of high-z galaxies, barely ∼200 Myr after the transition from Population III star formation to Population II, appears to be in conflict with the standard view of how the early universe evolved. This problem has much in common with the better known (and probably related) premature appearance of supermassive black holes at z ≳ 6. It is difficult to understand how ∼109 M black holes could have appeared so quickly after the big bang without invoking non-standard accretion physics and the formation of massive seeds, neither of which is seen in the local universe. In earlier work, we showed that the appearance of high-z quasars could instead be understood more reasonably in the context of the R h = ct universe, which does not suffer from the same time compression issues as ΛCDM does at early epochs. Here, we build on that work by demonstrating that the evolutionary growth of primordial galaxies was consistent with the current view of how the first stars formed, but only with the timeline afforded by the R h = ct cosmology. We also show that the growth of high-z quasars was mutually consistent with that of the earliest galaxies, though it is not yet clear whether the former grew from 5-20 M seeds created in Population III or Population II supernova explosions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number120
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014


  • cosmology: observations
  • cosmology: theory
  • early universe
  • galaxies: general
  • large-scale structure of universe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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