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Researchers study galaxy formation & galaxy evolution

This is Science Today. The study of galaxies and their formation can give scientists insight into how the universe evolved. Elizabeth Barton, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Irvine studies galaxy and star formation, as well as galaxy evolution.

Barton:           I've always been fascinated that we live in the middle of this huge galaxy full of hundreds of billions of stars that's been here a good ten billion years. We know that. So you might ask well, how did this get here? How did this start off, how did it form? That's what galaxy formation and evolution is all about. When did the giant galaxies in the universe form, how did this happen, when did their stars form? Some of them are still forming stars now, some of them aren't. Can we explain that in terms of more fundamental things that we know about the early stages of the universe? So, those are the big questions that we're really trying to answer.

Narrator:        Barton is part of a team of UC Irvine scientists who recently discovered a galaxy cluster that's 11.4 billion light years from Earth - the farthest of its kind ever to be detected. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.