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For Embargoed Release at 11am EDT (16h UT) on Sunday, May 15th, 2005
Gemini North after sunset showing laser system. Large box at bottom of telescope is the laser housing which consists of a Class-10,000 clean room.
Can galaxies observed at very high redshifts (at a time when the universe was a fraction of its current age) evolve to look like today's nearby galaxies simply by growing older? The answer is no according to an international team of scientists led by Inger Jørgenson (Gemini Observatory) who used GMOS on Gemini North, combined with HST imaging data to survey distant galaxies and chart their evolution.
A long-standing problem in understanding the evolution of stars has been determining the nature of the stellar progenitors for white dwarf stars. In particular, astronomers want to know how a rather massive star (up to seven times the mass of the Sun) can lose enough mass to become a white dwarf. Key questions include: Which main-sequence stars eventually end their life as white dwarfs? How much mass do they lose in late evolutionary stages? What process allows this to occur?